Heatwave caused no extra deaths in Netherlands

The hot weather in the Netherlands over the past weeks did not cause an increase in the number of deaths in the country, public health institute RIVM said. According to the institute, this is because many people who were already weakened passed away in the winter, and because the Dutch are getting better at protecting themselves against the heat, AD reports.

During hot weather especially elderly people, chronically ill people and overweight people are at risk. High heat can cause symptoms like breathing problems and dizziness, but can also turn fatal. According to the RIVM, up to and including early August there has not been a peak in the number of deaths.

"This partly has to do with the long flue epidemic of the past winter. The flu wave caused more people to die than usual. Between October 2017 and May 2018, 9,500 more people died than you would expect based on historical data of the past five years", RIVM spokesperson Jan Brouwer de Koning said to the newspaper. "You can assume that the vulnerable people who would have had a very hard time now will not have survived the winter."

Another contributing factor is that people in the Netherlands are now much more attentive to each other when the weather heats up, Brouwer de Koning said. "There is sometimes a bit of a laugh about the National Heat Plan, but it does help. We pay extra attention to people from risk groups, such as the elderly and the chronically ill." The Heat Plan reminds people to observe the heat protocols.