Italian hospitals report sharp rise in emergency cases as temperatures in Rome set new record
A heatwave continues to grip Italy, with temperatures in Rome hitting 41.8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, setting a new record. Hospitals have seen a sharp rise in the number of people arriving at emergency units suffering from dehydration or other heat-related illnesses.
While temperatures in the capital broke the previous record of 40.7C set in June last year, Sicily and Sardinia recorded 41C and 45C, respectively.
The Cardarelli Hospital in Naples said 231 people had accessed emergency treatment within the last 24 hours, the highest daily number since the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of the patients were elderly, people of all ages have been seeking care, including tourists.
2% of patients admitted on Monday were in a serious condition and 38% were in moderately critical condition, said Antonio d’Amore, the hospital’s director general – highlighting the delicate moment and asking people to contact the Cardarelli emergency room only in cases of real need.
Italians Urged To Avoid Venturing Out During The Hottest Hours
The health ministry has placed 23 cities on “red alert”. It implies the heat is so intense it could threaten the health of the entire population, not just children and the elderly. It urged citizens to avoid venturing out during the hottest hours and cut out coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks.
But the current situation isn’t that bad, when compared to previous years – mainly because people have now become more aware of the risks, Gianfranco Giannasi, the director of emergency care across public hospitals in Tuscany, told Firenze Post.
Last summer, there were 61,672 heat-related deaths across Europe, with the highest mortality rate recorded in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
While extreme temperatures are threatening the survival of millions, the situation is particularly dire for the elderly with health problems such as heart conditions or breathing difficulties. Unless human-caused global heating gets a break, heat records will continue to be broken worldwide.