Paris 2024 Olympic Games: heatwave, heatstroke… organizers are preparing for the worst to protect spectators and athletes

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: heatwave, heatstroke… organizers are preparing for the worst to protect spectators and athletes

Des équipes spécifiques seront préparées pour traiter les hyperthermies très rapidement avec un bain d'eau glacée. MAXPPP

Reports point to Paris's bad reputation for heat-related risks. Sports doctors have trained teams to quickly treat athletes' exertional hyperthermia, which can be fatal or leave serious after-effects.

1,300 deaths in oppressive heat of 51 degrees in recent days during the pilgrimage to Mecca. A terrible assessment which inevitably echoes the feared heatwave during the Paris Olympics (July 26 & August 11) while a report written by British climatologists from the NGO Climate Central warns of the dangers of extreme temperatures this summer.

An alert linked to Paris's bad reputation in this area: the capital has the highest mortality rate due to heat among 854 European cities. 5,000 people died in France during the summer of 2023 due to the heatwave according to Public Health France.

Mortality rate of 27% in the event of poor care

While it is too early to predict the weather in a month, some researchers consider a heatwave worse than that of 2003 (9 days over 35 degrees) possible.

First public exposed, that of athletes, in particular those competing in violent or endurance sports. "Malignant exertional hyperthermia can have devastating consequences", confirms Stéphane Bermon, doctor for the international athletics federation. "It affects about 1 % of athletes in hot weather and must be treated within half an hour with an ice-water bath to bring down&nbsp ;the internal temperature of the body when it exceeds 41 degrees. The mortality rate is 27% in the event of poor care with risks for survivors of developing strokes, cardiovascular disorders or renal failure in the long term."

No air conditioning in the Olympic Village

Stéphane Bermon and his teams therefore began training Olympic doctors to set up specific units for treating heat stroke. The most sensitive tests have also been postponed to the coolest hours.

Also read: Paris 2024 Olympic Games: "Heat stroke is one of the leading causes of death among athletes, they must prepare for it""

"The disruption of sleep due to the heat and the absence of air conditioning" is however&nbsp ;pointed out by the athletes in the NGO report while the Olympic village will be without air conditioning for environmental reasons.

35000 people at the marathon for all

"We are vigilant, the list of measures promised by the organizers looks acceptable and portable air conditioning remains available for athletes at risk, particularly Paralympic athletes" tempers the Montpellier researcher Stéphane Racinais, member of the group of experts mandated by the IOC.

"Paris-2024 has already taken a strong measure by authorizing spectators to access the sites with their water bottle", he adds while seven million spectators are expected in often unshaded stands…

The main cause of concern remains the marathon for all on August 10, with 35,000 participants, even at the end of the day. & quot;We potentially have the risk of having to treat between 150 and 200 severe heat strokes" alerts Stéphane Bermon. "We are a bit in the unknown, recognizes Stéphane Racinais, but the principle is to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best…"

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