Higher than normal temperatures over the past few weeks have prompted Saint Lucia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, to urge people to take measures to reduce possible heat-related illnesses.
The CMO noted that one of the effects of heat is dehydration.
As a result, Belmar-George told St Lucia Times it was important for individuals to increase the amount of non-alcoholic fluid they drink.
“Water is the best fluid to take in,” she explained.
“You don’t wait until you are thirsty. But you consume water regularly throughout the day. Water is better than sweet drinks, better than alcoholic drinks,” Belmar-George stated.
“It’s also important that you stay indoors as much as possible in a well-ventilated area and avoid especially the ten to two O’clock heat which can also affect your skin,” the CMO advised.
“If you are going out during that period you are advised to either use a hat which will help to keep the direct sunlight away, sunglasses and if you could use a broad spectrum UVA, UVB on your skin,” the CMO told St Lucia Times.
In addition, she advised wearing light colours and loose-fitting clothing.
At the same time, Belmar-George said it was important not to leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle since heat can accumulate.
And she indicated that the elderly and people with chronic diseases are a source of concern amid the current high temperatures.
According to Belmar-George, people at the highest risk of heat-related illnesses include infants and young children.
They also include people older than 65, patients with mental illness, people who are physically ill, those with chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, and people with heart disease.
The CMO said it was important to ensure that such individuals are well-hydrated and kept cool.
“We need to reduce dehydration. We need to reduce the possibility of fainting and dizziness, especially at our schools. We know some of our schools are not as ventilated as they should be,” she stated.
In this regard, she suggested that schools ensure that children are well hydrated, monitor the youngsters, and keep them out of direct sunlight during high-temperature periods.
Headline photo courtesy Nathan Dumlao (Unsplash.com)