CPS: Stay cool and hydrated as extremely hot weather can cause illness. | SMN NEWS

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM);—  Heatwaves are among the most dangerous of natural hazards that have a significant impact on society, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) said on Wednesday.

Considering the extreme hot weather, which can affect one’s health, CPS cautioned people to take the necessary steps to stay cool and hydrated. Extremely hot weather can cause sickness or, in severe cases, even death.

Infants, children up to age four, and adults over 65 are particularly vulnerable because they adjust to heat more slowly than other people.

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.

Persons with chronic illness are at an increased risk for heat-related illness. Persons should check with their physician to discuss their health condition and medications if their ability is likely to be affected 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.

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others it is necessary that a family member should monitor these persons or friends from time to time at least twice a day, such as infants and young children; people 65 years of age or older; people who are overweight; people who overexert during work or exercise; people who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation.

Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

During the hottest hours of the day, stay out of the sun; to prevent health-related illness, follow a few simple steps.
When you’re out in the hot sun, use sunscreen with SPF of 30 and/or an umbrella.

Stay in an air-conditioned or well-ventilated area. If you don't have air conditioning, use public places such as shops, a shopping mall, or a library, or go with a friend or family member 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 it 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 liters of water per day.

Avoid unnecessary strenuous physical activities if you are outside or in a building without air-conditioning. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and use shades to protect your eyes from ultraviolet overexposure.

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 of heat-related illness.

Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks as these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.

Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.

Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shady area.

CPS reminds the public of Sint Maarten during heavy periods of heat to take the necessary measures to protect themselves and family against heat-related illness.

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