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Tips for preventing heat-related illness

THE VALLEY, Anguilla The Pan American Health Organization has issued a warning that the current heatwaves in Europe, may hit parts of our region. Heatwaves can have serious impacts on health, including death so we must be prepared.

Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, occur when the body is not able to properly cool itself. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat, this might not be enough. In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. This can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs and can lead to death.  The majority of heat-related deaths are due to the worsening of heart, kidney, and other chronic conditions. People with chronic diseases that take daily medications have a greater risk of complications and death during a heatwave, as do older people and children.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, cool pale skin, dizziness or faintness, rapid breathing and a weak rapid pulse.   Warning signs for heat stroke include red, hot and dry skin, throbbing headache, unconsciousness or coma and a rapid strong pulse.

In order to prevent heat-related illness stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed:

  • Avoid sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Do not exercise or engage in intense outdoor activities without proper protection.
  • Keep the home cool by covering windows during the day and using air conditioners or fans during the hottest hours.
  • Do not leave children, older persons or even pets in parked vehicles. Vehicles can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open.
  • Drink water every 2 hours, even if you aren’t thirsty.
  • If you have a chronic disease and take medication, consult your doctor about the appropriate fluid intake.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnessesand how to treat them.
  • Check up on older family and friends or those in your community who might be at greater risk of heat-related illness.
  • Stay tuned to weather alerts and forecasts.

A message from the Ministry of Health and Social Development….

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