Asia Cold Snap

January 26, 2016 by staff 

Asia Cold Snap, A cold snap sweeping across East Asia has killed at least 85 people in Taiwan and stranded 60,000 tourists in South Korea.

Taiwanese media reported deaths from hypothermia and cardiac disease following a sudden drop in temperature over the weekend.

Meanwhile heavy snow forced the closure of the airport on the Korean holiday island of Jeju, cancelling flights.

The cold spell has also hit Hong Kong, southern China and Japan.

Many of those who died in Taiwan were elderly people living in northern regions such as Taipei and Taoyuan. Those areas accounted for 66 of the deaths.

Another 16 were confirmed dead in the southern city of Kaohsiung.

The temperature in Taipei city fell to a 44-year low of 4C (39F) on Sunday, and many homes in Taiwan lack central heating.

Many victims reportedly had heart trouble and shortness of breath.

“In our experience, it’s not the actual temperature but the sudden drop that’s too sudden for people’s circulatory systems,” said a city official quoted by AP news agency.

Most excess winter deaths and illnesses are not caused by hypothermia or extremes of cold, but by heart and breathing problems. Frail elderly people are particularly at risk.

Cold weather makes your heart work harder to keep your body warm. It increases your heart rate and blood pressure and can cause changes to your blood that increase the risk of developing blood clots that may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Low temperatures can make it harder to breathe and can make existing chest problems, such as asthma, worse. There is also more flu circulating during the winter.

If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, experts say it is a good idea to heat your home to at least 18C.

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