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.
Photo: Plainpicture/Johnér

Heat warnings

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, SMHI, issues heat warnings or high temperature notifications when a daily temperature of at least 26 °C is expected for three consecutive days. The warnings are posted on SMHI’s website. News outlets also often report the warnings. Radio Sweden broadcasts Swedish news reports in several languages. 

• High Temperature Notifications: Issued when there is an expected maximum temperature of at least 26 °C for three consecutive days.
• Class 1 Warning for Very High Temperatures: Issued when there is an expected maximum temperature of at least 30 °C for three to four consecutive days.
• Class 2 Warning for Extremely High Temperatures: Issued when there is an expected maximum temperature of at least 30 °C for five consecutive days, or if the expected maximum temperature is at least 33 °C for three consecutive days.

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 fluids
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.

• 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.

• 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).