Heatwaves are among the most dangerous of natural hazards that have a significant impact on society, Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) said on Tuesday.
CPS says extremely hot weather can affect your health. Individuals should stay cool and hydrated. Extremely hot weather can cause sickness or in severe cases even death.
Those who are particularly vulnerable because they adjust to heat more slowly than other people are infants, children up to age four, and adults over the age of 65.
Certain health conditions are risk factors associated with heat-related illness, and these include kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or underweight, sickle cell and mental illness.
People with diabetes are at an increased risk from heat-related illness. Persons should check with their physician to see if your health condition and medications are likely to affect your ability to cope with extreme heat and humidity.
Heat stress is heat-related illness caused by your body’s inability to cool down properly. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough.
In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.
Heat-related illnesses or death are preventable if you follow a few simple steps. During the hottest hours of the day stay out of the sun.
When your out in the hot sun, use sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more.
Stay in an air-conditioned area or well ventilated cool area. If you don't have air conditioning make, use of public places such as shops, a shopping mall or go to the library to stay cool.
Wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Drink water often; invest in a water bottle to keep with you at all times and refill as soon as it is empty. Don't wait until you are thirsty. Make it a habit to take a sip every now and then. Drink at least two litres of water per day.
Avoid unnecessary strenuous physical activities if you are outside or in a building without air-conditioning. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. When in the sun, avoid unnecessary sun exposure, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim and use shades to protect your eyes from ultra violet over exposure.
A cool and/or shaded environment is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illness. Exposure to cool air for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related illness.
CPS, reminds the public of Sint Maarten during the summer break to take the necessary measures to protect themselves and family against heat-related illness.