Bulletin de santé publique - Heatwaves, France - Summer 2022

Publié le 20 décembre 2022
Mis à jour le 20 décembre 2022

Key points

  • According to Météo France, summer 2022 was the second hottest summer in France since the start of the 20th century. The summer 2022 monitoring period included three heatwaves, two of which triggered red warnings in the Atlantic coast regions, and there were two successive episodes of around 12 days in the regions of Occitania, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
  • The summer monitoring period featured the highest excess mortality since the French national heatwave plan was implemented in 2004:
    • 2,816 excess deaths (+16.7%) were observed during the three heatwaves in affected departments.
    • The over-75 age group was the most severely affected (2,272 excess deaths; +20.2%).
    • The relative excess mortality observed in the departments issued with red warnings (+19.9%) was higher than that seen in other departments.
    • Over 20,000 uses of care ascribed to the composite health indicator iCanicule (hyperthermia, dehydration and hyponatremia) were recorded during the surveillance period. Compared to non-heatwave periods, emergency department visits doubled and consultations with physicians in the SOS Médecins network tripled for these conditions during the heatwaves.
  • During the summer heatwaves (in the affected areas and at the same times), 894 deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic were recorded. COVID-19 may have increased sensitivity to the heat for certain groups, and vice versa.
  • Seven fatal accidents at work with a possible link to the hot weather were reported by the Direction générale du Travail [General Directorate for Work]. These fatal accidents at work mainly occurred during occupational activities conducted outdoors, including three deaths in the construction sector.
  • Over the whole summer monitoring period, there were an estimated 10,420 excess deaths from all causes (+6.1%) in metropolitan France. Part of the summer excess mortality can probably be attributed to exposure of the population to temperatures that did not reach the heatwave alert threshold. Santé Publique France is currently working on an estimate for the imputable proportion.
  • Summer 2022 followed the trend observed over the past few years, which have seen an escalation of exposure to heatwaves in summer, translating into a rise in the associated impacts on health. In the context of climate change, the implementation of prevention measures during the whole summer period will be formally considered and this report emphasises the need to strengthen the strategy for adapting to climate change, nationally and regionally.

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