Heatwaves - Health Impacts

"A heatwave refers to a prolonged period of abnormally hot weather which may be accompanied by high humidity. While there is no generally accepted definition of a heatwave, in Ireland it's classified as 5 consecutive days with a maximum temperature in excess of 25 degrees Celsius". (Met Eireann)

Heatwaves are associated with environmental effects and these can cause public health impacts such as:

Environmental Effect Potential Health Impact 
High temperature

Heat stress, heat exhaustion, heatstroke indoors especially for sick or elderly people 

Health stress, heat exhaustion heatstroke outdoors especially for outdoor workers and homeless

Public Health Advice to minimise risk

Additional things to consider during heatwaves:

Child safety - sun and outdoor safety and water safety

Water safety for adults and children (from gov.ie) 

Bathing water incidents

Foodborne illness associated with barbeques, breaches in temperature control (from hpsc.ie)

Waterborne illness due to altered water management systems

Legionellosis due to temperature control breaches in water systems, or in compost (from hpsc.ie)

Longer hours of direct sunlight Sunburn and UV related skin cancer
Drought leading to restricted water


Increased risk of infection 



Air pollution from wildfires

Please click into the above for more information and general health advice.

Updated 18/7/2022