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Jamaicans urged to reduce heat exposure


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

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 ministry said in a release on Wednesday.

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, the release said.

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. To prevent illnesses associated with the heat, Jamacans are encouraged to:

  • Hydrate with cool water, especially when it is hot and humid;
  • Drink more fluids, 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; and 
  • Wear light-weight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics.

According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, some people are at greater risk of being affected by heat.

Among the most vulnerable are the elderly, bedridden individuals, as well as infants and children younger than six years of age, people 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 ministry said.




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