Wednesday 22 January, 2020

Health Ministry offer suggestions on how to beat the heat

Over the last few weeks, Barbadians have been complaining about soaring temperatures and have been taking every measure conceivable to beat the heat.

With Met officials warning that the mercury could be in the high 30s for a little while longer, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is advising Barbadians to take preventative measures to avoid heat-related illness.

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A heatwave is generally defined as a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot weather that could impact on human health, community infrastructure and services.

According to the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, heatwave season occurs annually from May to October.

Exposure to extreme heat can cause severe symptoms such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion may include sweating, rapid heart rate, headache or nausea. Heatstroke may include confusion, seizures or unconsciousness.           

Heat-related illness may affect anyone, but most vulnerable population groups comprise persons over 65 years, persons with non-communicable diseases, and persons on medication that affects the body’s reaction to heat. 

Also included are pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, babies, young children and persons who are physically active outside.

Among the ways that the Ministry is recommending Barbadians stay safe in the heat are:

  • drink water, even when not feeling thirsty;
  • keep cool by taking cool showers, putting your feet in cool water or using wet towels on your neck and arms;
  • wearing cool, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and avoiding strenuous activity;
  • closing blinds or curtains to block out the sun, and opening windows when there is a cool breeze;
  • staying out of the sun when possible;
  • and eating smaller meals more often, as well as more cold meals.

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