Health authorities issue warning as St. Lucia under heat wave

Health authorities issue warning as St. Lucia under heat wave
05 Apr
2017

St. Lucians have been asked to ensure they remain hydrated as the island experiences increased heat levels.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness said the Metrological Services Department has confirmed that this weather is due to dry atmospheric conditions accompanied by little cloud cover and dust haze.

The health authorities did not give any details of any incident as a result of the heat, but warned “collectively, these factors place the public at risk of dehydration and its related effects which include dizziness and fainting spells” and urged St. Lucians to avoid direct sunlight as much as possible.

“To avoid the detrimental effects of heat waves, the Ministry of Health advises the public to avoid exposure to direct sunlight, particularly between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm and to regularly drink water.

“It should be noted that sugar laden drinks are not a substitute for water as they contribute to further dehydration,” the Ministry warned, adding that the guidelines are particularly important for the elderly and young who tend to be most easily affected by extreme heat.

Diabetics and persons with chronic diseases are also urged to take the precautions and the Ministry of Health said it was advising school officials to ensure students drink water during the day and limit outdoor activity in the direct sunlight during this time.

“Adults are advised to limit alcohol consumption during outdoor activities and increase water intake during physical activity. Ensure that hats, cool light colored protective clothing and sunblock are used to reduce the impact of the heat.”

Last month, the Barbados-based Caribbean Drought & Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN) said that several Caribbean countries, particularly in the eastern Caribbean, experienced a drier than normal February, and in some cases both February and January were relatively dry.

It said that though there is some uncertainty over rainfall during the March to May period in some parts of the Caribbean, concerns remain for the western Caribbean/Greater Antilles for both short and long term drought, and in the southern portion of the eastern Caribbean for long term drought.

“Some models also suggest the possibility for the return of El Niño, and drier than normal conditions late in 2017,” the CDPMN said.