How to prevent the health effects of high temperatures?

Jul 14, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The main recommendations are to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, drink water frequently, and use sunscreen products and light clothing. In addition, employers will have to adapt to the conditions and working hours of their workers and, if necessary, stop working during hours of excessive heat.

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Effects of high temperatures

On 15 May, the government activated the National Plan of Preventive Actions for the Effects of Excessive Temperatures on Health, which will be in force until 30 September.

The aim of the plan is to prevent and mitigate the negative effects that excessive heat can have on the health of citizens, especially in the most vulnerable groups: the elderly, pregnant women, minors, the chronically ill and groups who work outdoors.

Forecasts indicate an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves as a result of climate change. For this reason, the Ministry of Health and the State Meteorological Agency, with contributions from the autonomous communities, have drawn up a list of recommendations to protect the population from damage due to excess temperatures and will issue daily alerts on the levels of health risk.

Decalogue of general recommendations
Drink water or fluids frequently, even if you do not feel thirsty.
Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol or high sugar content.
Pay special attention to babies, children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the elderly with illnesses that can be aggravated by heat (heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer, dementia, etc.).
Stay in cool, shady or air-conditioned places.
Reduce physical activity and avoid outdoor sports in the middle of the day.
Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing.
Never leave anyone in a parked and locked vehicle.
Consult a doctor if you have symptoms for more than one hour that may be related to the heat.
Keep medicines in a cool place
Eat lightly (fruit, vegetables) and cut down on high-fat foods.
How to prevent the health effects of high temperatures

High health risk levels
One of the priority actions of the plan is to alert the authorities and the public sufficiently in advance of possible risk situations. To this end, the following levels will be assigned:

level 0 (green) or no risk.
level 1 (yellow), low-risk
level 2 (orange), medium risk
level 3 (red), high risk

How do I find out about the risk of high temperatures?
on the map assigning levels on the Ministry of Health website
on the State Meteorological Agency’s website
through social networks
by subscribing to the free Temperatures and Risk Levels service. You will receive an email and/or SMS with daily information on temperatures and health risk levels for the province requested.
through the media
How do I protect myself from solar radiation?
Remember that the negative effects of prolonged exposure to the sun are cumulative. Some of these effects are sunburn, sunstroke, eye conditions, alterations of the immune system or premature skin ageing. In addition, skin cancer (carcinoma and malignant melanoma) has increased in recent years, so you should follow these recommendations:

avoid sunbathing in the central hours of the day, as well as prolonged exposure or naps.
wear light clothing. Tight-knit shirts and long trousers will block most of the sun’s radiation. The most comfortable clothes in hot climates are light-coloured cotton shirts. Clothing should be comfortable and not too tight.
cover your head with hats or caps.

wear approved sunglasses that filter at least 90% of ultraviolet radiation.
use sun protection products with a high sun protection factor suitable for your age, skin type and the area of the body where they are used. Sunscreens should be applied in large quantities 30 minutes before sunbathing and renewed every two hours and after every swim. Use sunscreen even on cloudy days.
be careful if you sunbathe in the water, as radiation can penetrate up to one metre into clear water.
protect minors and avoid exposing children under the age of three to the sun.
be careful if you take medication as it increases the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation.
in the mountains you should also follow all this advice because the risk of sunburn increases with altitude.
How do I deal with heat stroke?
Heat stroke is the situation in which a person who is subjected to high temperatures suffers a problem in their thermoregulation system in an exaggerated way, raising their temperature to 40 degrees or more.

Heat stroke can appear in elderly and sedentary people who do not have air conditioning, in young and healthy people who are doing sport in extreme heat, in workers who work in the street or in hot environments and in chronically ill people.

The main symptoms are headache, nausea, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, tiredness, sweating, cold, pale, clammy skin and a weak pulse. Intense thirst and dry mouth, dizziness, muscle cramps or disorientation may also occur.

For heat stroke, sip water, stay in a cool place, loosen your clothes, apply wet cloths or take a cool bath. If the symptoms last longer than an hour, you should go to a hospital.

Heat stroke can lead to serious complications, such as damage to vital organs (brain, heart, liver, kidneys, lungs), resulting in renal, cardiac or respiratory failure, fulminant hepatitis, and even death.

What is the difference between heat stroke and heat stroke?
Heat stroke is caused by prolonged exposure to the sun accompanied by high temperatures, whereas heat exhaustion is linked to a rise in temperature and does not necessarily occur when sunbathing.

The symptoms of heat stroke are hot, reddened skin, rapid breathing and pulse, convulsions, hallucinations, irritability, behavioural changes, altered level of consciousness or fainting.

In case of these symptoms, you should immediately call 112 and, while help arrives, move the affected person to a cool place, cool him/her down with cold clothes or give him/her a bath with cold water.

How to protect workers from heat waves?
The Official State Gazette of 13 May 2023 publishes the modification of health and safety regulations in workplaces to establish the prohibition to carry out certain tasks if the risk level for high temperatures is orange or red and it is not possible to guarantee the protection of workers.

The regulation stipulates that employers are obliged to adapt to the conditions and working hours of their employees and, if necessary, stop working during hours of excessive heat.

The measure affects workers who work in places that cannot be closed, such as the street and agricultural or livestock farms.

Tips for preventing the effects of high temperatures more information
Medicines and Health Products Agency
Health activates the National Plan of Preventive Actions against the Effects of Excess Temperatures on Health and sets out a list of recommendations to prevent the damage caused by high temperatures.