Hong Kong's climate is subtropical, tending towards high-temperatures in summer. Under global warming, Hong Kong is getting hotter and the temperature continues to rise every year. From 1884 to 2018, the average number of "very hot days" (day with over 33oC) was 8 per year. Yet in 2014 to 2018, we had more than 28 "very hot days" per annum including a record high of 38 days in 2016  [1]. More extreme heat can be expected in the future.

Hot weather may seem harmless. However, research findings show that when the temperature has reached 29 oC, the number of death will increase by 1.8% with every 1oC rise [2]. Heat-related illnesses pose risks to everyone [3] [4] [7]. People who suffer from heat stroke may have shortness of breath, seizures and loss of consciousness [5]. Heat strokes may even kill. In 2017 at Wu Kau Tang in Sai Kung, a young hiker fainted, lost consciousness and died later after she was sent to the hospital [6]. In another incident in 2008, a minibus driver died of heat stroke in his vehicle in the absence of air-conditioning [7].

Heat-related illnesses can also lead to other serious consequences indirectly. In 2018, a professional driver lost control of his minibus when he suffered from heath stroke and hit 5 vehicles in the accident [8].

As you can see, the impacts of extremely hot weather can be severe. See our tips to prepare for and respond to temperature extremities. You can also learn ways to deal with any heat-related sicknesses [9] [10] [11].

Prepare Now

  • Find places in your community where you can go to get cool.
  • Try to keep your home cool by covering windows with drapes or shades and using a ventilator, fan or air conditioner.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat illnesses.

Survive During

  • Find places with air conditioning like libraries, shopping malls, and community centers that can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
  • If you are staying indoors without air-conditioning, you should keep windows open as far as possible to ensure that there is adequate ventilation.
  • Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 35oC as this can increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create airflow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
  • When engaged in outdoor work or activities, reduce prolonged exposure under sunlight. Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen frequently. Avoid any high-energy activities or over exertion. If you are not feeling well, take a rest in the shade or a cooler place as soon as possible.
  • Wear loose clothing, suitable hats and UV-blocking sunglasses to reduce the chance of sunburn.
  • Pay attention to health conditions and watch out for signs of heat illness, especially among the elderly or people with chronic medical conditions.

Recognize & Respond

Know the signs and ways to handle heat-related illnesses.

  1. Heat Cramps
  2. Heat Exhaustion
  3. Heat Stroke