Focus on heatwaves in Italy

by ISRAA Treviso

In Italy in the summer of 2022, the national heat wave forecasting system was activated. Preventing the negative effects of heat on health, especially of the most fragile people, is the aim of the publication on the portal of the bulletins on heat waves in Italy. The bulletins are prepared by the Lazio Region, SSR Epidemiology Department, as part of the National Operational System for forecasting and preventing the effects of heat on health, coordinated by the Ministry of Health. They are published, as every year from Monday to Friday, from mid-May until mid-September. The operating system is deployed in 27 Italian cities and allows the daily identification, for each specific urban area, of weather and climate conditions at risk to health, especially for vulnerable persons: the elderly, the chronically ill, children, pregnant women. The cities monitored are: Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Cagliari, Campobasso, Catania, Civitavecchia, Florence, Frosinone, Genoa, Latina, Messina, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Perugia, Pescara, Reggio Calabria, Rieti, Rome, Turin, Trieste, Venice, Verona, Viterbo.

Heat wave bulletins can also be consulted through the “Caldo e Salute” APP, created by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Department of Epidemiology of the Lazio Region Health Service - ASL Roma 1. The APP is available online for Android devices on Google Play. From the Ministry's portal it is possible to download numerous brochures and information material on heatwaves, for the general population and health and social workers (doctors, staff of facilities for the elderly, staff assisting the elderly).

Each summer, information is collected on local prevention plans and emergency protocols in 34 cities involved. The document is periodically updated and includes:

- a summary of the available evidence on the risk factors associated with heat and heat waves and on prevention interventions,

- models and tools, based on the available scientific evidence, for the implementation of local prevention plans for heat-related health effects differentiated by risk level and population susceptibility level.

Specific recommendations have been defined for different subgroups of the population most at risk.

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