How to best protect ourselves from the heat wave. Doctors’ advice for overheating the home. When not to use the fan

The hot days will continue to test us in the days to come. The Ministry of Health launched a series of doctors’ recommendations to the population, drawing attention to the danger of direct exposure to extreme temperatures. What are the most vulnerable categories?

The temperatures are unbearable in many areas of the country FOTo: archive/Shutterstock

The main advice for these days when the temperatures have become unbearable is to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun between 11.00 and 18.00. If we have to do it, we must protect our skin using protective creams, but also loose clothes, made of natural materials, of light colors.

How we regulate the temperature in the room

The air conditioner is our good friend these days. The temperature must instead be adjusted so that it is not more than 5 degrees Celsius below the ambient temperature, recommends the Ministry of Health. Another important tip is not to use fans in the room if the temperature exceeds 32 degrees Celsius.

“If you don’t have air conditioning at home and/or at work, spend 2-3 hours every day in air-conditioned spaces (cinemas, public spaces, shops). Throughout the day, shower with lukewarm water, without wiping yourself off.” there are other tips to keep in mind.

Here are some tips to maintain a bearable temperature in the home when we don’t have an air conditioner:

• close the windows exposed to the sun, draw the blinds and/or curtains;

• keep the windows closed during the whole period when the outside temperature is

superior to that of the dwelling;

• open the windows late in the evening, at night and early in the morning, to cause air currents that favor the ventilation of the rooms;

• turn off or reduce the intensity of artificial light;

• turn off any household appliances you don’t need.

No matter how great the temptation is to cool off, we are advised to avoid spaces that are not authorized for bathing, the risks being high, starting with drowning and ending with the danger of various ailments that we can develop: leptospirosis, meningitis, diseases of skin, etc.

What we eat, how we hydrate. Why yogurt is a very good choice

On hot days we should consume at least 1.5-2 liters of liquids (but no alcoholic beverages) and not wait for the feeling of thirst to appear. Drinking alcoholic beverages favors dehydration and reduces the body’s ability to adapt to heat, therefore beer or wine are totally inappropriate choices.

And the consumption of drinks with a high caffeine content (coffee, tea, cola) or with a high sugar content is to be avoided, as these products have a diuretic effect.

Instead, it is recommended to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, the most suitable being: cantaloupe, cantaloupe, plums, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., because they contain a large amount of water.

Remember that yogurt is another good option to hydrate us, consuming a dose of yogurt produces the same hydration as a glass of water. Avoid hot and hard-to-digest foods.

Avoid outdoor activities that require high energy consumption (sports, gardening, construction, etc.) and, possibly, do them during the hours with lower temperatures. Take care of the people dependent on you (children, elderly, disabled people) and offer them fluids, regularly, even if they do not ask for them. Keep in constant contact with neighbors, relatives, acquaintances who are elderly or disabled, taking an interest in their state of health. there are other tips that we should keep in mind.

How we care for infants and toddlers

The elderly as well as babies and small children are much more vulnerable and require special care on days with extreme temperatures. Here’s what to pay attention to in the case of small children, but also some tips for breastfeeding women:

• ensure an environment free from heat, excessive humidity and air currents;

• do not change the child’s diet by introducing new foods during this period;

• ensure proper hydration of the children; in the case of infants, the mother will nurse whenever the infant requests;

• dress the children loosely, with clothes made of natural materials;

• the child will be taken out of the house only outside the hot periods of the day and, necessarily, ensure the protection of his head with a wide-brimmed hat;

• avoid direct sun exposure of children under 6 months of age;

• avoid walking between 10.00 and 18.00; for the walk choose the shaded areas;

• give children plain water, very weakly sweetened tea, fresh and very well washed fruit;

• breastfeeding mothers should hydrate properly with plain water, lightly sweetened tea or natural fruit juices made at home without added preservatives; they will avoid the consumption of coffee and alcohol and will take care to maintain a rigorous hygiene of the breast, as well as the general;

• at the slightest sign of the child’s or the mother’s distress, go to the family doctor to decide on the therapeutic course of action;

• pay special attention to hygiene conditions, both for the child and for the mother.

• it is necessary to bathe the child at least once a day, and, necessarily, in the evening at bedtime. In the rest of the time, the child will be toileted locally or whenever needed;

• preschool children will be showered with water at room temperature;

• visit playgrounds located in the shade only, outside of heatwave hours, and protect children’s heads, faces and necks with wide-brimmed hats.

Tips for caring for the elderly and people with chronic illnesses

The elderly and people suffering from chronic diseases also require special care. In the case of patients with chronic diseases, it may even be necessary to adapt the treatment scheme to the new temperature conditions, for this reason it is advisable to contact the attending physician for a discussion or consultation.

• ensure an environment that does not overload the body’s ability to adapt;

• hydrate yourself properly with plain water, lightly sweetened tea or natural fruit juices made at home and without the addition of preservatives;

• use a diet based predominantly on fresh vegetables and fruits;

• consume only fresh food, purchased from stores that have functional refrigeration facilities for food storage. Avoid eating perishable foods;

• it is recommended to avoid the consumption of alcohol and coffee during the heat wave;

• avoid walking on the street during the peak periods of the heatwave or, if travel is absolutely necessary, use light clothing made of natural materials and wear a protective hat;

• people suffering from certain conditions will continue their treatment according to the doctor’s instructions. It is useful that during these periods, people with chronic conditions: cardiovascular, hepatic, renal, pulmonary, mental, consult the attending physician in order to adapt the therapeutic scheme to the existing conditions;

• strictly maintain personal hygiene, by taking 3 – 4 showers / day.

Periodic rest in shaded areas for employees working outdoors

People who, by the nature of their work, have to make a special physical effort or even have to work outdoors are at a particular risk.

• it is recommended to dose the physical effort according to the periods of the day, trying to avoid excess effort during the peak of the heat wave. If the temperature is very high, the activity will be stopped;

• hydrate yourself properly with plain water, lightly sweetened tea or natural fruit juices made at home and without the addition of preservatives;

• the consumption of alcohol and coffee during the heat wave is contraindicated;

• use appropriate equipment made of natural materials and protect your head from the effects of excessive heat.

What employers can do

In order to improve working conditions, employers are recommended to adopt special measures during the heatwave periods, including:

• ensuring ventilation at the workplace;

• alternating dynamic and static effort;

• alternating work periods with rest periods in shaded places with air currents;

• provide drinking water in the amount of 2 – 4 liters/person/exchange;

• provide personal protective equipment;

• ensure people have access to the showers.

Recommendations for Code Red situations

• reduce trips to essential ones;

• do not move between 11.00 and 17.00;

• consume liquids in the amount of 2 – 4 liters/day;

• do not consume alcohol;

• in the case of chronic conditions, under medical treatment, administer your medicines regularly, with plenty of water;

• do not take out children under 3 years of age until the morning, at the latest by 9:00, and in the evening, after 2000;

• avoid heavy meals and large meals;

• use hospital or emergency medical services only in justified cases; for current health problems notify the family doctor by phone.

A Code Orange and Code Yellow weather warning is in effect for Thursday, June 20, 2024, with temperatures that can even reach 39-40 degrees Celsius in the shade being forecast in the southern half of the country.