Jamaica health authorities were warning nationals to take preventative measures to deal with the excessive heat being experienced there, noting that the situation is harmful to their health and could also prove to be fatal.
“Jamaica, as other countries in the Caribbean, has a heat season that is typically between May and October each year. This year, extremely high temperatures are being recorded. The public is therefore advised to take precautionary measures to reduce exposure to heat and limit the serious effects it can have on the body,” the Ministry of Health and Wellness said in a statement.
Over the last weekend, the temperature in the capital was a sizzling 39.1 degrees Celsius – the highest temperature ever recorded in Kingston.
Director of Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services at the Ministry, Dr. Nicole Dawkins-Wright warned that heat related illness include heat exhaustion, heat strokes and cramps as well as heat stroke which could be fatal.
The Ministry said that signs associated with heat strokes include a very high body temperature, hot and dry skin and a throbbing headache and dizziness.
It said other signs include altered mental state or behaviour, vomiting and rapid breathing.
“If any of these signs are noted, seek medical assistance immediately while finding ways to cool down the person, such as sponging with cold water, wrapping the person in a wet, cold sheet and fanning the person vigorously,” Dr. Dawkins-Wright said.
The health officials warned that heat stress may also trigger decomposition in some medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
They urged people to consume more water, exercise indoors where possible, avoid being in the sun during the middle of the day and wear light weight, light coloured clothing.
“The public is also advised to avoid crowded locations and ensure that their bodies are well ventilated,” the Ministry of Health and Wellness said.