Extreme heat

Sweden is known for being a country with cold winters. But high temperatures can occur during the summer. During prolonged periods of heat over 26 °C, the risk of heat stroke and dehydration increases. This can be dangerous for young children, the elderly and the sick.
Det är viktigt att dricka mycket när det är varmt. Foto: Plainpicture/Johnér

High temperature warnings and advisories

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, SMHI, issues both warnings and advisories for high temperatures.

  • A high temperature advisory is issued when a period of heat is expected to affect groups at risk. The advisory is mainly directed to health care providers.
  • Warnings for high temperatures are issued when warm weather is expected to affect larger groups in society. Prior to issuing a warning or an advisory, the daily maximum temperature as well as the number of consecutive days with heat are considered.

Health tips in the event of a heat wave

  • Be aware of the indoor temperature.
    The risk of health problems increases as soon as the indoor temperature rises. The risks increase significantly when the outdoor temperature reaches 26 °C or higher for three consecutive days.
  • Drink more fluid
    Don’t wait until you get thirsty. Eat foods with a high water content, such as fruit and vegetables. Avoid large amounts of sugary drinks and alcohol. Keep in mind that the people around you may need help staying hydrated.
  • Add a little bit more salt to your food
    A little extra salt can help to replace the salt you lose when you are sweating more than usual.

  • Create a cool environment
    Use curtains, blinds and awnings. Try to stay in the coolest part of your home. Open windows at night, when it’s cool.
  • Find ways to cool down
    A cold shower is the most effective way. A damp towel around the neck is also an option. Wear loose-fitting clothes made of natural materials. They are cooler than tight-fitting clothes made of synthetic materials.
  • Take it easy
    Avoid physical exertion during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Store medications correctly
    Store medications at 25 °C or less, or in the refrigerator. Read the storage instructions on the package. For more information call the Public Medicines Information at 0771-467010.
  • Be aware of your health and that of others
    Warning signs may include elevated body temperature, increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, sudden-onset dizziness and unusual tiredness. A dry mouth and decreased urine output may be signs of dehydration. If you are taking medication – diuretics, for example – the dose may need to be adjusted. Contact your healthcare provider for advice concerning your health or that of your family.
  • If you are concerned about your health and need advice – call 1177.
    By pressing “5” you can get information in English. Between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. you can get advice in Arabic and Somali. Between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. you can get advice in Finnish. 
  • In case of emergency – call the emergency number 112

This information was provided by: The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten), The Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), and The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).