Certain groups such as the elderly, young children and the sick are at risk for health issues when the weather is too hot. In particular, extremely warm weather can worsen breathing and heart problems. Being prepared with what to do during a heatwave can prevent potential health issues from arising.
The average temperature of 30 degrees C by day and 15 degrees C overnight can trigger a health alert. These temperatures can drastically affect the health if they last for at least 2 days and the night in between.
Why is heatwave an issue of concern?
It is important to note that there are main risks posed by a heatwave. These risks include dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Remember that the heat-illnesses can drastically affect the overall health of the individual and can be fatal in some cases.
Who are at risk?
The heatwave can affect anyone, but those who face the highest risk include the following:
- Elderly especially those over 75 years old
- Infants and young children
- Individuals who have serious chronic conditions especially with the heart or breathing
- Individuals who have mobility issues such as those who had a stroke or with Parkinson’s disease
- Those who have serious mental health issues
- Individuals who are physically active
- Individuals who are under certain medications
- Those who misuse drugs or alcohol
How to cope during warm weather
If the heatwave is expected, there are various ways in order to be prepared to deal with the warm weather.
- Shut the windows and pull down the shades or curtains when it is warm outside. Once it is safe, open for added ventilation when it is cooler.
- Avoid staying out under the heat especially between 11AM – 3PM (hottest part of the day).
- Use shades on the windows or reflective material outside the windows to keep rooms cool. If this is not possible, utilize light-colored curtains to keep them closed.
- The individual can take cool showers or baths
- Drink cold fluids on a regular basis such as fruits juices and water. Avoid drinking coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages.
- Monitor the weather forecast on the TV, radio or online.
- Always plan ahead of time to ensure that there is enough supplies such as water, food and medications.
- Determine which part of the house is the coolest
- Wear cool, light and loose clothing and a hat when going outdoors
What to do when someone needs help?
Once an individual starts to feel unwell, you have to move him/her to a cool area to rest. Make sure that you will provide him/her with plenty of fluids to drink.
It is best to call for emergency assistance if symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, confusion, dizziness, weakness or cramps become worse or does not subside.