Health ministry issues advisory as heat wave causes discomfort across Loop Jamaica

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The Ministry of Health and Wellness is reminding the public that excessive heat stress is harmful to health and is potentially fatal.

The advisory from the ministry comes as Jamaica, like other Caribbean countries, is currently experiencing a heat season that is typically between May and October each year. This year, extremely high temperatures are being recorded.

“The public, especially the vulnerable (elderly, children under six years, and bedridden persons), are, therefore, advised to take precautionary measures to reduce exposure to heat and limit the serious effects it can have on the body,” said the release from the ministry.

“Typically, heat-related illnesses can range from mild conditions such as a rash or cramps to serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as heatstroke.

In order to prevent illness associated with the heat, members of the public are encouraged to:

Hydrate with cool water, especially when it is hot and humid. Drink more fluids, and limit or avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and beverages that contain alcohol;Drink more water than normal before, during, and after vigorous activities (at least 15 minutes before, and take fluid breaks at least every 15 minutes);Exercise indoors where possible;Drink more water than normal if one is exposed to heat for long periods (greater than two hours);Avoid the sun during the middle of the day, such as by limiting, as much as possible, outdoor activities to mornings and evenings, and seeking out shade when outdoors; andWear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics.

“Some persons are at greater risk of being affected by heat. Among the most vulnerable are the elderly, bedridden persons, as well as infants and children younger than six years of age, persons who are overweight, and those with preexisting medical conditions (including diabetes and hypertension).

“Children should not be left in locked vehicles under any circumstances,” the release stated.

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