COVID-19 and heat waves: New challenges for healthcare systems

S. Bose-O'Reilly*, H. Daanen, K. Deering, N. Gerrett, M.M.T.E. Huynen, J. Lee, S. Karrasch, F. Matthies-Wiesler, H. Mertes, J. Schoierer, J. Shumake-Guillemot, P. van den Hazel, J.A.F. van Loenhout, D. Nowak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Heat waves and Covid-19 overlap, as this pandemic continues into summer 2021. Using a narrative review, we identified overlapping risk groups and propose coping strategies. The high-risk groups for heat-related health problems as well as for high-risk COVID-19 groups overlap considerably (elderly with pre-existing health conditions). Health care facilities will again be challenged by Covid-19 during heat waves. Health care personnel are also at risk of developing heat related health problems during hot periods due to the use of personal protective equipment to shield themselves from SARS-CoV-2 and must therefore be protected from excessive heat periods. Some existing recommendations for heat health protection contradict recommendations for COVID-19 protection. This paper provides a preliminary overview of possible strategies and interventions to tackle these ambiguities. The existing recommendations for protection against heat-related illnesses need revisions to determine whether they include essential aspects of infection control and occupational safety and how they may be supplemented.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111153
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Covid-19
  • Heat wave
  • Personal protection equipment
  • PPE
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Summer
  • Heat related health problem
  • Health care personnel


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