“The warmer it gets, the more Deaths there will be”


“The warmer it gets, the more Deaths there will be”, the forecast of physicians in the current issue of the “German physician sheet” that appears on Monday and the MIRROR pre-exists. The researchers have examined in several studies of rising temperatures on the health of the people in Germany could have an impact.

Therefore, more and more deaths threaten to cause heart attacks, wound infections, and Overheating. It is the first analysis of this type of the “German physician sheet” – one of the largest circulation medical journals, published by the German medical Association and the kassenärztliche bundesvereinigung.

“The worst of it is probably people in countries of the global South low-and middle-income,” writes Dennis Nowak, a Professor at the Munich University hospital. “However, we will feel a warming in our Latitudes, and it will also affect our patients.”

The most important results at a Glance:

Heart attack: statistics show that people are more likely to have a heart attack to suffer, if it is previously large fluctuations in temperature gave. Doctors from the cooperative health research at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (Kora) study, the heart attack could alter the risk,

  • if the average temperature rises in comparison to the pre-industrial era by 2100 to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as in the Paris climate agreement is agreed to,
  • or, what currently appears to be more realistic, to three degrees Celsius.

The result: it Remains at the 1.5 degrees Celsius, is expected to stagnate, the number of heart attacks presumably because of heat-related heart increase attacks, but cold-would decrease. The average temperature rises by three degrees Celsius, will increase the number of attacks nationwide to at least a thousand cases per year, calculate the researchers.

Because only data of patients were under 75 years for the analysis, is likely to be the actual number, however, significantly higher. For comparison: in 2017, nearly 50,000 people in Germany died of a heart attack.

Wound infections: Many pathogens thrive in heat much better than cold. The temperatures rise, also surgical wounds more likely to ignite, suspected, researchers at the Charité hospital, the Potsdam Institute for climate impact research and the National reference center for Surveillance of nosocomial infections could therefore.

And indeed, their analysis of more than two million operations from 2000 to 2016 confirmed that wounds from getting infected after surgery slightly more often when the mean temperature in the month at 20 degrees Celsius or higher. The researchers therefore propose to postpone scheduled operations in the cooler months.

Overheating: In the past summer, died in Berlin alone, about 500 people die as a result of the heat, estimates of the Robert Koch-Institute, especially people with Obesity, the Elderly and children are at risk.

Normally, the body can regulate the temperature by sweating. This is not more successful, may increase the body temperature in a few minutes to up to 41 degrees Celsius, a life-threatening condition. Medication does not help in such cases, stress the doctors in the current “German medical journal”. The only way is to get the body within 30 minutes to below 40 degrees Celsius down to cool.

For this the Doctors recommend to immerse the whole body of the patient as soon as possible in ice water. If no ice water is available, are also suitable cool water and cold packs for the hull, however, they will not be able to cool the body as quickly. That the Patient can get through the Cooling heart problems, you do not need a helper to fear, according to the Doctors. So far, no such case was documented. Also often young people are affected by a heat stroke.

Other researchers fear that climate change will lead to significantly more heat-dead. According to a recent study, climate data from France has increased five-fold the risk for heat waves in June. Another analysis showed that it could be in Berlin in 30 years, as hot as in Australia.

Heat protection plan

The health risks for Germany according to the Munich-based physicians Nowak most likely with meaningful climate protection measures to reduce. “At the same time, we have to be realistic and a secondary prevention plan.” He calls to schools, Doctors and nurses specifically on health risks due to the heat, and a heat-protection plan set up, as already exists in Austria. This automatic heat warnings and heat telephone, the informed about health risks, for example.

The health effects for Germany in an international comparison, little threat. Even now there are deaths due to climate change, warn Australian researchers in a recent analysis of 120 studies. “Without a doubt, people to climate-related death, die causes, especially due to heat stress,” said one of the study’s authors Misha Coleman, the “Guardian”.

Due to the rising temperatures of mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue or Zika could spread further, even in areas where they do not occur in the past. The researchers also expect crop failures and resulting malnutrition. “How will be the future of our children?” researcher Coleman asks.

Summary: Doctors have studied for the current issue of the “German physician sheet,” possible health risks to Germany as a result of climate change. It is the first analysis of this kind. Rising temperatures could lead therefore to more heart attacks, wound infections, and heat deaths. In order to reduce the risks, challenge the physician a meaningful climate protection measures, training for physicians, and a Federal heat, protection plan wide.