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In the shadows…

02 September 2023
Volume 15 · Issue 9

Conditions such as stroke and myocardial infarction owe some of their remarkable improvements in outcomes and mortality to primary, secondary and tertiary preventative strategies. Personalised and artificial intelligence-guided medicine promise further individualised treatments and better outcomes. However, the prevention of heat illness has failed to keep up.

Heat illness is defined as systemic symptoms associated with a raised core temperature due to exposure to high environmental temperatures (‘classical heat illness’) or strenuous physical activity (‘exertional heat illness’). The most severe form of the classical heat illness spectrum, classical heatstroke (CHS), is common and poses severe risks such as multi-organ failure (Walter et al, 2016), with a mortality risk of over 60% reported in intensive care (Bouchama et al, 2022). The World Health Organization (WHO) (2018) estimates that heatwaves are responsible for tens of thousands of direct and indirect excess deaths each year. The number of deaths has been predicted to rise by over 2.5-fold in the next 60 years (Hajat et al, 2014).

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