Heatwaves in Mexico Cause Hospital Admissions, DeathBy Sofía Garduño | Fri, 07/15/2022 - 13:01
The high temperatures hitting Mexico since the 12th week of 2022 have caused 690 health emergencies and eight, reported the General Direction of Epidemiology (DGE). Heatwaves can affect physical and mental health. Mexico’s National Water Commission (CONAGUA) informed that the highest temperature peak will take place between July and August.
“Extreme heat events can be dangerous to health, even fatal. These events result in increased hospital admissions for heat related illness, as well as cardiovascular and respiratory disorders,” says the US’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Mexico’s heatwaves are linked to the decrease in rain and are part of the country’s climatic variability, which makes it difficult to forecast their specific start date, duration and intensity, according to CONAGUA. Heatwaves in Mexico are characterized by hot air and temperatures above 37° C.
As of today, Baja California, Campeche, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sonora and Tabasco have reported deaths associated with high temperatures. During the hot season of 2021, 33 deaths were reported. Those between 45 and 64 years old are the most vulnerable to high temperatures, according to DGE.
Heat exposure causes sun burns, cramps, respiratory problems, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. The last one has been the most common cause of death related to heat during the current hot season in Mexico. It can also cause permanent disability if it is not treated, as reported by the CDC. High temperatures can also worsen symptoms of mental conditionsand have been linked to an increase in manic episodes of bipolar disorder, suicide attempts, anxiety and depression. Research has shown that mental health related deaths increase by 2.2 percent for every 1° C increase in monthly average temperatures, according to WEF.
Why is the world warmer?
The record-breaking temperatures being experienced across the world are linked to human activities. There is over 95 percent of probability that human activities have warmed the planet during the past 50 years, as reported by NASA.
“Climate change is making heatwaves hotter and last longer around the world. Scientists have shown that many specific heatwaves are more intense because of human-induced climate change. The climate change signal is even detectable in the number of deaths attributed to heatwaves,” said Vikki Thompson, Scientist, University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute, to The Guardian.
The burning of fossil fuels due to human activities has changed the natural atmosphere and its negative consequences are expected to worsen. As the earth becomes warmer, there will be more evaporation and precipitations and sea level will rise, forecasts NASA.