Researchers aim to beat the heat

ACCORDING to the Meteorological Agency the first half of July 2015 has been the hottest since the end of 1870, reaching temperatures of up to 44 degrees in communities such as Pego. Extreme weather conditions are causing havoc with sleep patterns that have an impact on job performance and social behaviour and in some tragic cases illness and even death.
An 83-year-old woman who died in Sant Joan Hospital last week succumbed to heat stroke, as did an 84-year-old man who died on Sunday July 19 in Mislata near Valencia.
To meet the challenges of the changing climate the University of Alicante (UA) is involved in a number of projects to develop new coping mechanisms to combat the heat, including an investigation into food thermals and working on the development of super-light fabrics in collaboration with textile associations.
Most at risk are the elderly, the very young and pregnant women.
Jose Vicente Marti, head of the Environmental Health section of the Valencia Generalitat regional government, said: “This summer is particularly dangerous due to extremely high temperatures and work on preventive interventions has multiplied.”
Sellés Francis, coordinator of the Sleep Disorders Unit of the UA General Hospital, explained: “In 26 degrees it can be difficult to sleep – now we are faced with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, leaving us unrefreshed and drowsy throughout the day, affecting work, social interaction and driving skills.”

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