How to Survive a Corfu heat wave

on 22/08/2017

Heat waves, an extreme form of weather, happen quite often in Corfu, and they can be quite dangerous for a lot of people. It is prudent to take safety precautions and protect one’s health from these weather events when they occur – the latest one finished a few days ago.

One of the worst heat waves to affect Greece was the 2007 european heat wave with temperatures reaching 46.2°C. It took the lives of 18 people and more than 100 fires broke out around the country. This was the worst heatwave in recorded history to ever hit Greece.

More than 200 people were hospitalized for heat-related treatment, such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and related illnesses. The human body goes through a lot in the midst of a heat wave.

Are heat waves more common now than in the past?

In the last few decades heat waves have become more frequent and more deadly and will probably continue to become even more common in the future as a result of climate change. Deaths from heat waves may triple by 2050. Furthermore by 2100 the majority of humankind will be in danger of facing deadly heat waves.

How hot will your city get by 2100?

Cities are getting warmer and warmer every year. Much warmer than other rural areas due to the urban heat island effect. Cities can get about 7.8°C hotter than other rural areas. The combination of rising temperatures from climate change and rapid population growth pose a great threat to cities. More than half the world’s population live in cities, if these places get hotter and hotter, extreme weather will become much more common and can pose a serious threat to public health in these areas.

According to this map – summers in Athens will get about 7 degrees warmer by 2100, resembling the current temperature of the city of Faisalabad in Pakistan. Fortunately however Corfu is and will most likely always be much cooler than Athens. The temperature in Corfu is usually 2-3 degrees cooler than it is in Athens.

How to protect yourself during a Corfu heat wave?

  • Stay hydrated. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks and especially alcohol. These types of drinks can dehydrate you. Stick to plain old water during extreme heat and drink frequently, even at times when you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Eat well. Eating is a good way to control your temperature, eat light meals regularly during a heat wave and try and avoid foods high in protein such as meats and nuts, these types of food will increase your body’s temperature and add to the problem. Stick mainly to healthy foods such as salads, vegetables and fruits.
  • Keep cool! Keep out of the sun. Stay indoors as much as possible and stay cool, find a room that is the coolest in the house and spend most of your time there. Taking cool showers regularly is a great way to reduce your bodies temperature. If you are out during a heat wave, try and remain in the shade as much as you can.
  • Turn on the air-conditioning if you have it. If not, try and stay in some airconditioned public places during the warmest parts of the day or night.
  • Dress appropriately. Avoid wearing heavy and dark coloured clothing, keep to light colours and lightweight clothes.
  • Avoid exercising or working heavily in the sun. Especially during 11am to 3pm, the warmest part of the day.

We hope these tips will help you get through a Corfu heat wave!