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Heat Advisory Issued as Temperatures Soar: Health Officials Warn of Heat Stroke Risk

Heat Advisory Issued as Temperatures Soar

As a relentless summer heat wave continues to grip the region, health officials are urging the public, especially those spending time outdoors, to take necessary precautions against the dangers of extreme temperatures.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health issued a stark warning today, emphasizing the importance of staying hydrated and avoiding certain beverages while engaging in outdoor activities.

“The public should carry and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration while enjoying the outdoors,” a CHP spokesman advised. “Beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee and tea, as well as alcohol, should be avoided, as they can actually speed up water loss through the urinary system.”

The spokesman stressed that certain groups are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of the heat, including infants, children, the elderly, pregnant women, those with chronic illnesses like heart disease or high blood pressure, outdoor and manual workers, and individuals who are overweight. These individuals, he cautioned, “should pay special attention” to protecting themselves from heat-related illnesses.

With the mercury continuing to rise, health officials are urging the public to heed these important safety guidelines and take the necessary precautions to stay cool and healthy during this prolonged heat wave.

The public should adopt the following precautions:

  • Wear loose and light-coloured clothing to reduce heat absorption and facilitate sweat evaporation and heat dissipation;
  • Avoid vigorous exercise and prolonged activities like hiking or trekking as heat, sweating and exhaustion can place additional demands on the physique;
  • Perform outdoor activities in the morning or the late afternoon, if possible;
  • For indoor activities, open all windows, use a fan or use air-conditioning to maintain good ventilation;
  • Do not stay inside a parked vehicle; and
  • Reschedule work to cooler times of the day if feasible. If working in a hot environment is inevitable, introduce shade in the workplace where practicable. Start work slowly and pick up the pace gradually. Move to a cool area for rest at regular intervals to allow the body to recuperate.

     ​The public should also note the latest and the forecast Ultraviolet (UV) Index released by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO). When the UV Index is high (6 or above):

  • Minimise direct exposure of the skin and the eyes to sunlight;
  • Wear long-sleeved and loose-fitting clothes;
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella;
  • Seek a shaded area or put on UV-blocking sunglasses;
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, preferably higher. Reapply every two hours if you stay out in the sun, and after swimming, sweating or towelling off; and
  • While using DEET-containing insect repellents for personal protection against mosquito-borne diseases, apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent.

     ​If symptoms develop, such as dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath or confusion, rest and seek help immediately, and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

     ​The public may obtain more information from the DH’s Health Education Infoline (2833 0111), heat stroke page and UV radiation page; the HKO’s Dial-a-Weather (1878 200), latest weather report and forecastUV Index and weather information for hiking and mountaineering; and press releases of the Labour Department on precautions against heat stroke for outdoor workers and their employers when the Very Hot Weather Warning is in force.