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Life & Info: Heatwave can trigger heat stroke, anxiety & depression: Experts Updated: 2019-07-03 07:32:18 KST

Time now for our "Life & Info" segment, where we focus on information useful for your everyday life.
Today, we are going to talk about the mini heatwave we are enduring in South Korea at the moment and how it can make you ill, if you are over-exposed.
We have our health reporter Choi Si-young in the studio to tell us more.
So Si-young, let's start with the definition of a heatwave in South Korea, different countries have different thresholds,. so when do we consider it a heatwave in South Korea?


Well, Mark.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, a heatwave refers to when the daily high is 33 degrees Celsius or above.
Heatwave advisories are issued when the heatwave is expected for two days in a row.
If temperatures reach 35 degrees or above and remain there for the same period, heatwave warnings are issued.

Now you just mentioned advisories, if I remember correctly, we saw the year's first heatwave advisories issued in May.
I hear that's one of the earliest on record in South Korea, is that right?

That's right, Mark. Since 2008, when South Korea's weather agency began to issue heatwave advisories, most of them came into effect in June.

But starting in 2014, the month of May also saw days when heatwave advisories were announced.
That trend continued until 2017.
In 2018, the hottest year on record here in Korea, the first heatwave advisories came into effect on June 1st.


Now, for the first time in eleven years, heatwave advisories were issued in the southwestern city of Gwangju on May 15, the earliest day of the year on record.
Locals who recall last year's sizzling heat are wondering, if we could see an even hotter summer this time around.
However, some experts say the early heatwave doesn't necessarily mean it will be hotter this year.
Nor are we gonna see a more prolonged heatwave this year.
Let's take a listen to some experts.

"The full-scale summer heat starts after the monsoon front settles in, so any heatwave before the arrival of the front in May can't really be an indicator of how hot it's going to be in the summer."

"Unlike last year when the monsoon front left early in July, the front will leave near the end of July this year. So, the summer heat will start later and will not be as bad as the one we saw last year."

Ok, that's good to know. Shifting our focus to heat-related illnesses. What kind of ailments can we suffer from due to prolonged exposure to intense heat?

Well, heatwaves negatively affect both your physical and mental conditions. First let's see how it can harm you physically. Let's take a look at this picture.

Heat exhaustion is a direct result of the body overheating and is identifiable by the following symptoms. Staying hydrated is the key to lessen the severity. Be warned that, if this illness goes unaddressed, heat stroke follows. A much more serious condition, heat stroke requires emergency treatment.

"Loss of consciousness and multiple organ failure occur during heat stroke and can lead to death. The most important thing to do is to drop the body's core temperature."

So what about mental conditions? Give us an example of any major heat-related illnesses from this category?

Sure. Experts say the heatwave can also trigger mental health conditions, most notably anxiety and depression. Let's again turn to experts.

"Heatwave causes sweating and dizziness that can bring on anxiety. The high temperatures raise stress levels and lower the capability to cope with it, inviting depression."


And health professionals say you can't really tell whether your anxiety or depression is the result of the hot weather, so please consult with a doctor if you're worried about your mental health because these conditions CAN be mitigated.
And again, staying hydrated and "cool" is key to prevent these illnesses.

Well, Si-young, I guess that will do it. Thank you for your report on health as always.

My pleasure.
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