Health officials warn of incoming heatwave

Maximum temperatures will reach up to 37°C with the health authorities advising the public to stay hydrated and avoid sun exposure

An incoming heatwave over the next few days will see daily temperatures rise to between 35°C and 37°C with the health authorities advising the public to keep hydrated and avoid sun exposure.

The Met Office also issued a yellow warning, advising the public that the maximum temperature on Friday would reach 36°C.

The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate said 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," the directorate said in a statement on Friday.

It said that high temperatures could also lead to heat exhaustion or a heatstroke. Heat exhaustion, caused by loss of water and salt through sweating, could lead to weakness, fainting, sickness, headaches, 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. Although less common, heat strokes are more serious and untreated symptoms include confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness. It is recommended that one calls 112 for emergency care in such situations.

“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,” the directorate said.

The directorate recommended that people:

  • Keep out of the heat, avoid any exposure to the sun between 11am and 4pm
  • Stick to the cooler parts of the home and workplace
  • Close the curtains in rooms facing the sun
  • Drink plenty of water to replace fluids lost through sweating and eating cold food
  • Avoid dehydrating liquids such as alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks
  • Wear light loose fitting clothing
  • Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • Walk in the shade, applying sunscreen and wearing hats
  • Never leav anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.
  • Seek medical advice whenever necessary

The directorate advised the public to look out for vulnerable or elderly neighbours and family or friends who may be isolated and unable to care for themselves.