After consulting the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), RIVM has decided to activate the National Heatwave Plan in all Dutch provinces as of 10 August 2022. It will probably remain in place until after this weekend. RIVM uses the National Heatwave Plan to inform organisations, professionals and informal caregivers about the heat expected. They can then take this into consideration in the support they provide to and how they interact with vulnerable groups like the elderly and small children. This will enable them to help reduce distress levels and health problems and avoid both if at all possible.
Hot weather: enjoy and be aware
Although many people enjoy the hot weather, it can be unpleasant or even dangerous for others. At times like this, people who are not able to take good care of themselves will need more attention to limit the impact heat has on them and also to avoid the development of health problems. They may otherwise experience problems like fatigue, headaches and concentration problems. They are also at greater risk of more severe health problems like dehydration and heat stroke.
The elderly (75+) are the biggest vulnerable group because they find it more difficult to regulate their body temperature and are less likely to feel thirsty. People with chronic disorders, who are socially isolated or homeless and (very) young children can also easily experience distress or develop health problems if measures are not put in place to protect them.
Reducing and avoiding distress and health problems
Even healthy people can overheat or experience heat exhaustion when the Netherlands languishes in tropical weather for several days. With this in mind, it would be ideal for everyone to identify anyone they think might be vulnerable and keep an extra eye on them. There are a number of things you can do to reduce the impact heat has on you:
- Make sure you drink enough.
- Do not move around too much during the hottest hours of the day; limit your physical activity in the afternoon and early evening hours.
- Keep the house (and your head) cool by closing the curtains and turning on a fan or the air conditioning.
Read more about heat and the National Heatwave Plan on our website. It is also wise to use sun protection options to avoid sunburn.