Heatwave heading towards Israel: What precautions should be taken?

Extreme heat could pose a serious health risk for at-risk populations, including the elderly, people with cardio-vesicular diseases and young children.

The sun rises over the Dead Sea, Israel (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The sun rises over the Dead Sea, Israel
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A severe heat wave is expected in most parts of the country beginning on Shabbat and lasting until Monday, the Health Ministry said Thursday.
In a press statement, it urged the public, especially the elderly and those with chronic diseases, to avoid direct exposure to the sun and unnecessary physical exertion, drink plenty of water and stay in cool, air-conditioned places.
Heat stroke is caused when the body temperature rises above 41 degrees within 15 minutes. It can occur when the body fails to cool itself fast enough because sweat, which is a natural coolant, does not evaporate fast enough or because there is not enough of it due to dehydration.
Children under the age of four, adults with cardiovascular disease and people who are overweight are susceptible to heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat stroke include body temperature above 39.5 degrees, dry and red skin, lack of perspiration, rapid pulse, a throbbing sensation or severe headache, confusion, vertigo and nausea.
A person who experiences symptoms of heat stroke should go to the hospital and not be given fluids; they will be administered intravenously under medical supervision. Body temperature should be lowered by applying cool, wet towels while moving away from direct heat until medical help arrives.
Another medical condition that could be induced by prolonged exposure to the sun or a steady source of heat is heat exhaustion.
The phenomenon often occurs among individuals who have been exposed to a heat source for several days without sufficient fluid intake to compensate for perspiration.
The elderly, people who suffer from cardiovascular disease and people who engage in outdoor sports are at risk of heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include increased perspiration, cold and moist skin, paleness, vertigo, headache, muscle pain, nausea or vomiting, low pulse and short and rapid breaths. Body temperature could be normal.
If heat exhaustion is left untreated or unidentified, it could develop into heat stroke.
The recommended treatment for heat exhaustion is to rest in a cool place, loosen tight clothes, reduce body temperature by applying wet towels, drink water in small sips and monitor the patient’s condition.
If rapid deterioration in the person’s condition occurs, such as increased vomiting or an acute sense of confusion, he or she should go to the hospital.
Ahead of the heat wave, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority warned hikers to avoid trips along open roads or in large, open areas. Instead, it recommended visiting sites where shade is plentiful and access to drinking water is easily available.