With a heatwave gripping the nation, Barbadians are being urged to take precautions against heatstroke.
The thermometer peaked at 33.6 degrees Celsius on Friday, according to the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), making it the hottest day in Barbados so far this year.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness, in a statement issued today, warned that exposure to extreme heat can cause severe symptoms such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion may include sweating, rapid heart rate, headache or nausea, it said.
The ministry added: “Heatstroke may include confusion, seizures or unconsciousness.
“Heat-related illness may affect anyone, but population groups which are most vulnerable comprise persons over 65 years, persons with non-communicable diseases, and persons on medication that affects the body’s reaction to heat.”
Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, babies, young children, and physically active people outdoors were also warned to find ways to beat the heat.
The Ministry of Health recommended, “drinking water, even when you do not feel thirsty; keeping cool by taking cool showers; putting your feet in cool water or using wet towels on your neck and arms; wearing cool, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and avoiding strenuous activity”.
It advised households to close blinds or curtains to block out the sun’s rays, and open windows when there is a cool breeze. People should also stay out of the sun when possible, and “eat smaller meals more often, as well as more cold meals”.
The CIMH’s climate outlook for the region had predicted that “heat stress will likely peak in September and markedly decrease after October, with warmer temperatures forecast throughout the season and heatwaves probably occurring in many countries”.
The health authorities also urged people to watch or listen for updates on the heatwave.