Extreme heatwaves have resulted in some 120,000 deaths. France has been most affected, where some 40,000 people have lost their lives. Doctors blame the deaths on a combination of extreme temperatures and a lack of ventilation in European buildings. They explain that the human body is usually capable of dealing with extreme heat as long as it has sufficient time to recover. However, with many buildings unable to cool down sufficiently overnight, body temperatures have continued to rise. This has led to the body temperatures of many Europeans rising to more than 41.5°C, at which point widespread damage occurs to vital organs, including the brain, unless immediate medical attention is obtained. Worryingly, the Global Health Organisation warns that body temperatures exceeding 41.5°C are going to become commonplace over the course of the next two decades. Furthermore, the organisation states that we should expect the number of lives lost to increase from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands by the end of the century if human-made emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase.
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