CARE2022 Hong Kong Conference

57 c) Heat waves – challenges to physicians and healthcare system The very hot summer of 2022 broke high temperature records in Hong Kong and alerted the community to the associated risks. According to a study published in The Lancet, positive associations between the ambient temperature and mortality has been established in various cities around the world, with relatively small increases in the temperature leading to relatively large increases in mortality in hot conditions.9 Similar results have also been found in a Hong Kong study, 5 Preparedness and Resilience which formed the basis for the development of HKO’s Hong Kong Heat Index.10 Heat related illnesses include heat rash, sunburn, heat cramp, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is the phase where heat stress leads to compensatory responses of the body, which can be followed by heat stroke, where the affected person could lose consciousness and eventually die if not treated quickly. Vulnerable groups include the elderly, disabled persons, children, and outdoor workers. FIGURE 5.23 Associations between the ambient temperature and mortality in various cities around the world Source: Dear and Wang, 20159