Extreme weather decimates tourists. The services are sounding the alarm

Extreme weather decimates tourists.  The services are sounding the alarm

An extreme heat wave is sweeping through Greece. Temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius and for some tourists it turned out to be a death sentence. Scientists explain why humans are so susceptible to high temperatures.

Tourists who have traveled to Greece in recent days must pay special attention to their health. Extreme heat is passing through the country, which – according to scientists – is the reason for the death of many travelers there, unaccustomed to high temperatures. Thermometer bars now indicate about 40 degrees Celsius, which is extremely demanding for the human body.

One of the victims of the heatwave is Michael Mosley, who died while wandering on the Greek island of Symi. A similar fate befell a Dutch traveler whose body was found on the island of Samos. Two Americans died on Corfu and Amorgos, and two French women ended their journey on Skinos.

Greek authorities warn of blistering heat

Petros Vassilakis, a police spokesman on the southern Aegean coast, told Reuters there was a pattern linking the dead. – Everyone went hiking in the face of high temperatures – he said.

Some scientists say that what is currently happening in Greece is a warning signal for the future about the effects of extreme heat on the body, and in particular on the brain. One consequence of extreme heat can be disorientation, disrupting people’s decision-making ability and even risk perception.

As climate change causes longer and more severe heatwaves, scientists are trying to discover how our brains cope with unusually high temperatures.

It is the brain that regulates body temperature. The hypothalamus, a small diamond-shaped structure, acts like a thermostat. He tries his best to maintain the optimal temperature for our bodies, which is around 37 degrees Celsius. When it’s hot, the hypothalamus activates sweat glands and dilates blood vessels to cool the body.

However, the brain functions well within a narrow temperature range and even small changes can affect it. Many people know the feeling of being sluggish and lazy on a warm summer day.

Extreme heat will disrupt normal brain activity

However, as temperatures rise, this can have serious effects, including lowering fluid levels in the body and reducing blood flow to the brain.

“Extreme heat can disrupt normal brain activity,” says Kim Meidenbauer, a neuroscientist at Washington State University. The brain networks that normally allow people to think clearly, remember, and construct and formulate ideas could be “knocked out of balance,” the scientist told CNN.

And these were the choices the deceased tourists had to face – in the heat it was increasingly difficult for them to make complex decisions, such as choosing a hiking path. Contrary to appearances, this is an easy decision to make, but it requires considering many different factors.

“There is also evidence to suggest that people are more likely to make risky decisions and engage in impulsive behavior when exposed to high temperatures,” the researcher added. This is not only about potential overheating and burns, but also about life-threatening situations, such as impaired judgment or making bad decisions, which may even lead to death.

Are you in this group? Be especially careful

Some people are more sensitive to heat than others. Older people, especially those over 65, are at greater risk because their bodies do not always thermoregulate. The tourists who went missing in Greece were in their 50s or older.

Very young children and pregnant women are also at increased risk, as are people with pre-existing conditions.

How to protect yourself?

Experts say people can take certain actions to protect themselves and reduce the risk of stroke or death caused by high temperatures. These include avoiding exercise during the hottest times of the day and seeking shade when possible. Wearing loose clothing and applying ice packs to the head and neck may also help.

Drinking water is necessary not only when you feel thirsty. It is important not to get to the point where your body is losing fluids faster than it can take them in. Experts also recommend electrolyte drinks, which can help replace some of the fluid lost through sweating.

– It’s worth using location-sharing apps, said Meidenbauer. “Make sure someone knows where you are,” she added.

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