The Malta Independent 4 August 2021, Wednesday

Health authorities issue list of precautionary recommendations to deal with high temperatures

Thursday, 24 June 2021, 10:53 Last update: about 2 months ago

As the temperature continues to rise, the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate has advised the public on the importance of taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy and avoid adverse consequences from the effects of the heat.

"It is important to keep well-hydrated during hot summer days. Over the next few days, we will be experiencing a heatwave which is expected to extend to at least Saturday 26th June. Daily maximum temperatures are forecasted to be between 36°C and 38°C as announced by the Met Office."

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"High temperatures cause water to be lost from the body at quick rates resulting in dehydration. Look out for signs of dehydration: increased thirst, a dry mouth, dark urine, and passing urine less frequently and in small amounts."

High temperatures  can also lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  "Heat exhaustion is caused by loss of water and salt through sweating. Common symptoms include feeling weak, faint or sick, headache, muscle cramps, heavy sweating and intense thirst."

Heat stroke is when the body is no longer able to cool itself and the body's temperature becomes dangerously high. "This is less common but more serious and untreated symptoms include confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Call 112 for emergency care."

The heat can affect everyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm including older people, babies, young children, and people with chronic conditions.

To avoid the effects of the heat wave it is important to:

- Stay cool by staying in the coolest parts of the home and work.

- Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler.

- Drink plenty of  water to replace fluids lost through sweating and eat more cold food such as salads.

- Avoid dehydrating liquids. Alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks can make situation worse.

- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.

- Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day, either opt for indoor physical activity or carry out your physical activity in the morning when it is coolest.

- Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat if you must go out in the heat.

- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.

- Seek medical advice if you have any concerns.

"Look out for vulnerable or elderly neighbours, family or friends who may be isolated and unable to care for themselves and make sure they are able to keep cool during the heatwave."

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