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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 122; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020122

General Population Knowledge about Extreme Heat: A Cross-Sectional Survey in Lisbon and Madrid

1
Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Institute of Health and Society, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels 1348, Belgium
2
Centre for Applied Ecology “Prof. Baeta Neves”/InBIO, Research Network in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology (CEABN/InBIO), Instituto Superior de Agronomia, University of Lisbon, Lisbon 1649-004, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Peng Bi
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather and Public Health)
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Abstract

Extreme heat is associated with an increased mortality and morbidity. National heat plans have been implemented to minimize the effect of extreme heat. The population’s awareness and knowledge of national heat plans and extreme heat is essential to improve the community’s behavior and adaptation. A general population survey was conducted in Lisbon and in Madrid to assess this knowledge. We used a questionnaire to interview passers-by. Results were compared between Lisbon and Madrid and between locals and foreigners, using Pearson Chi-square tests and Fisher's exact test. We conducted 260 interviews in six locations of different socio-economic backgrounds in each city. The most frequently mentioned extreme heat-related risk groups were the elderly (79.2%), children (49.6%) and babies (21.5%). The most frequently reported protective measures were increased fluid intake (73.1%) and avoiding exposure to the sun (50.8%). Knowledge about the heat plan was higher in Lisbon (37.2%) than in Madrid (25.2%) (p-value = 0.03). Foreigners had less knowledge of risk groups compared to locals. Heat plans were not widely known in Madrid and Lisbon. Nonetheless, knowledge of practical concepts to face extreme heat, such as certain risk groups and protective measures, was found. Our results were similar to comparable surveys where specific respondents’ groups were identified as less knowledgeable. This highlighted the importance of addressing these groups when communicating public health messages on heat. Foreigners should be specifically targeted to increase their awareness. View Full-Text
Keywords: extreme weather events; population health; public health policy and practice extreme weather events; population health; public health policy and practice
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gil Cuesta, J.; van Loenhout, J.A.F.; Colaço, M.C.; Guha-Sapir, D. General Population Knowledge about Extreme Heat: A Cross-Sectional Survey in Lisbon and Madrid. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 122.

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