Some part of the Philippines had been experiencing severe hot weather these past few weeks with a recorded temperature heat index (HI) of as high as 51.5 degrees Celsius (that’s about 124.7 degrees Fahrenheit). This extreme heat is still expected to continue this month of May. It might even get worse in the coming years not just in the Philippines but in the whole world, as a result of climate change.
A heat index of 41-54 degrees Celsius (105.8 to 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered dangerous to the human body. It can even be fatal for some. Extreme heat can cause heat stroke, also known as sun stroke. It is a condition where the body temperature rises rapidly to the point where the body gets confused and could no longer control its own temperature. Symptoms include throbbing headache, disorientation, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing and vomiting. The sweating mechanism of the body fails so there is no sweating despite the heat. Rest and seek help immediately if you experience some of the symptoms.
Extreme heat also causes cardiovascular, respiratory, and other heat-related illnesses. It causes air pollution with the increase in air allergens. There is the risk of dehydration and increase in stress. It also impacts the quality of the food and water supply.
Elderly, infants, children, pregnant women, overweight individuals, those with existing chronic diseases and mental illness and those living alone are more vulnerable to suffer from exposure to extreme heat.
Here are some of the things that you can do to protect yourself from extreme heat:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take cool showers.
- Avoid strenuous activities especially while it is hot.
- Stay indoors in an air conditioned room as much as possible.
- Wear loose and light clothing.
- Eat small meals often.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Draw your blinds and curtains.
- Make sure food is properly refrigerated.
- Place damp towels around neck or shoulders.
- Open windows at night to help cool down your home.
- Keep yourself updated with weather news.
- Avoid food high in protein.
- Keep in touch with family or friends especially if you are living alone.