National Public Health Organization: Preventive measures to protect public health when temperature is high

NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH ORGANIZATION

Preventive measures to protect public health when temperature is high

01.07.2019

 

In the wake of the prolonged high temperatures in Western Europe, a meeting was held at the National Public Health Organization (EEDY) to discuss preventive measures for the protection of public health when temperature is high and dissemination of appropriate information to the public.

Particular emphasis was placed on the instructions to be followed by vulnerable groups of people and people that are more exposed to heat. Such categories include the elderly, infants and children, pregnant women, patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory disease patients and people taking medication, obese people working in the open air exposed to the sunlight, athletes, people consuming too much alcohol or using drugs. Particular attention should be paid to refugees / migrants and people in poverty or to elderly people living alone. Special mention was made of the obligations for surveillance and air-conditioning measures in common areas, which should be available jointly by ministries, local authorities and health-care instances throughout the country.

The National Public Health Organization has issued detailed instructions for appropriate preventive measures during the high temperature season that can be found here:

Protection Instructions to combat heat

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROTECTION FROM HEATWAVE

In our country during the summer season there are periods with particularly high ambient temperature.

The National Organization for Public Health informs the public about protection measures and first

aid in case of a heat wave in order that citizens avoid excessive exposure to heat and prevent :

  • Dehydration.
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which is threatening human health and life.

Population groups vulnerable to heatwave:

  • extreme age groups (infants, children, the elderly).
  • Patients suffering from chronic diseases (eg cardiavascular, respiratory, congenital

diabetes, etc.) or serious neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

  • People taking anti-hypertensive medication (eg diuretics, beta-blockers)

and other medications such as phenothiazine, antidepressants and antipsychotics, antihistamines,

amphetamines and anticholinergics.

  • People with obesity.
  • Persons working or living outdoors or athletes.
  • People who consume too much alcohol or use drugs.

How can you protect yourself from too much heat?

  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, juices of fruit or vegetables).
  • Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure and limit your movements. Stay at shady and cool places, avoiding crowded areas.
  • Use, if possible, air conditioners or fans during the hottest hours of the day
  • Wear light, comfortable and uncoated clothing. Wear hat and sunglasses when you are outdoors.
  • Take several tepid water showers during the day.
  • If you sweat a lot, you can increase salt consumption (seek medical advice if low salt diet is recommended).
  • Eat light meals, with emphasis in fruits and vegetables. Limit fat intake.
  • Avoid strenuous manual work, especially in high temperature areas, still air and high humidity.
  • If you suffer from chronic diseases (respiratory, cardiovascular, etc.), consult your doctor for any special measures you should take.
  • If you have a newborn at home, be sure he/she is dressed lightly. Ask for instructions from your pediatrician about fluids intake.
  • Close the exterior window panels during the hottest hours of the day and leave them open during the night.
  • Avoid using the oven as much as possible to prevent the house from overheating.
  • Never leave infants, elders, pets in a car
  • If you experience any discomfort contact your doctor.

Think of the most vulnerable people!

If you know older people, children, people living alone, patients with chronic diseases,

Make sure:

They do not stay alone in the heat of the day

They take adequate quantities of fluids

They have access to a cool / airy space

HEAT EXHAUSTION

Symptoms

Strong headache

  • feebleness
  • tendency to faint
  • pale, cold and damp skin
  • drop in blood pressure
  • nausea, vomiting
  • muscle cramps
  • tachycardia
  • Normal (usually) body temperature

First aid

  • Transfer the patient to a cool, airy, shady, air-conditioned space or under trees if possible
  • Give the person cool water (not frozen) to drink slowly. Avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids containing caffeine (coffee, caffeinated soft drinks).

 Unfasten or remove clothing which may be annoying

 Use cold wet cloths to cool the body of the sufferer

  • Make sure the sufferer is sitting in a comfortable position and be aware for any changes in his/her state of health.

In case of lack of improvement, transferring the sufferer to a hospital is most advisable

PROTECTION FROM A HEATWAVE

Drink plenty of fluids

Seek cooling or air-conditioned areas for relief

Get informed about symptoms and seek timely medical help

Do not forget! Relatives, neighbors and lonely fellow citizens

 

Info: 210 5212054, 210 5212000, www.eody.gov.gr