Heat Wave Claims 3 Lives in a Week

  • By Kim Eun-gyeong

    July 20, 2021 11:14

    At least three people died and thousands of others were hospitalized with heat exhaustion, dehydration and fainting as a summer heat wave sweeps the country.

    Having to wear face masks is making things more difficult for many people this summer. From July 11 to 17, the number of patients with heat-related illnesses in emergency rooms increased eight times compared to the previous week to 253.

    A closer look at 436 heat-stroke patients since May 20 shows that 44.3 percent were workers on building sites and in factories, followed by 13.1 percent farmers, 10.8 percent pedestrians and six percent who were exercising outdoors. They were of all ages.

    A firefighter sprinkles water on a plaza as people wait to get tested for coronavirus at a makeshift facility in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Monday. /Yonhap

    The brief summer monsoon has ended while a North Pacific high-pressure front expands over the Korean Peninsula, raising mercury levels even further. This year's rainy season lasted only 18 days, the third-shortest on record.

    Heatstroke can be fatal if left untreated, and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency advises people to remove their masks for short periods outdoors if it is possible to maintain more than a 2m distance from others.

    People with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes or other chronic illnesses need to be extra wary of heat-related illnesses. Drinking plenty of water, seeking shelter in the shade and resting are the most effective ways to avoid heatstroke. Headache and nausea are tell-tale signs, and if they appear, seek shelter in the shade, cool down using wet towels, water or ice and make sure your body temperature can be lowered.  

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