Heatwave heading towards Israel: What precautions should be taken?
Extreme heat could pose a serious health risk for at-risk populations, including the elderly, people with cardio-vesicular diseases and young children.
Starting from Saturday, August 29, and until Monday, August 31, a massive heatwave is expected in most parts of the country, according to a statement by the Health Ministry.
The ministry urges the public, especially the elderly population and people who suffer from chronic diseases, to follow these guidelines:
1) Avoid direct exposure to the sun.
2) Avoid unnecessary physical exertion.
3) Drink water steadily and stay in cool, air-conditioned, places.
These instructions should help many to cope with this summer's dog days.
Extreme heat could pose a serious health risk if one is not careful. One such example is a heat stroke that is caused when the body temperature rises above 41 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) in fifteen minutes.
A heat stroke often happens when the body cannot cool itself fast enough either because the sweat, which is a natural coolant, does not evaporate fast enough or simply because the body does not produce enough sweat due to dehydration.
Young children under the age of 4, adults with cardio-vesicular diseases and people who are overweight are especially susceptible to heat strokes.
Heat stroke symptoms can vary from a body temperature that is above 39.5 Celsius (103 Fahrenheit), skin turning dry and red, lack of perspiration, rapid pulse, a throbbing sensation or severe headaches, confusion, vertigo and nausea.
In such extreme cases, an individual who is suspected of experiencing a heat stroke should be taken immediately to the hospital.
However, under no circumstances should they be given fluids as they will be administered intravenously under medical supervision.
Instead, an individual's body temperature should be lowered by applying cool wet towels while moving him or her away from a direct heat source until medical help arrives.
Another medical condition that could be induced by prolonged exposure to the sun or a steady source of heat is heat exhaustion.
The phenomenon often occurs among individuals who have been exposed to a heat source for several days in a row without a sufficient fluid intake to compensate for natural perspiration.
Elderly populations, people who suffer from cardio-vesicular diseases and people who engage in sports activity outdoors are among those who risk developing heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion are slightly different from those of a heat stroke, and include: increased perspiration, cold and moist skin, paleness, vertigo, headaches, muscle pain, nausea or vomiting, low pulse, short and rapid breaths. Body temperature could be normal, however.
If heat exhaustion is left untreated or unidentified in time, it could develop into a heat stroke.
The recommended treatment for heat exhaustion is to rest in a cool place, loosening tight clothes, reducing body temperature by applying wet towels, drinking water in small sips and monitoring the patient's condition.
In case of a rapid deterioration in the patient's condition, such as increased vomiting or experiencing an acute sense of confusion, he or she must be taken directly to the hospital.
Ahead of the heatwave, Israel Nature and Parks Authority issued a warning to hikers suggesting avoiding taking trips along open roads or in large, open areas.
Instead, the authority recommends visiting sites where shade is plentiful and access to drinking water is easily available.
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