Saint Kitts
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Medial Official Warns of Heatwave Health Risks

Basseterre, St. Kitts, Aug 30, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom): As the federation swelters in the daily high temperatures a senior health official is warning persons about the health risks associated with the ongoing heatwave.

For the past few months Saint Kitts and Nevis has been experiencing extremely high temperatures.Daily highs have regularly passed 90° Fahrenheit and health officials are warning that these high temperatures can be dangerous to a person’s health. In an interview with ZIZ News medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital Dr. Daveen Wilkin said due to the extremely high temperatures one should try to limit the amount of time spent outdoors.

“So between 9 to 3 is when it’s hottest for one and secondly it’s also when you have higher UV radiation which is very damaging to the skin, alright? You don’t see it, you don’t necessarily feel it but you do suffer the effects of it so if you do not have to be outside, don’t be outside,” she said.

She urged everyone to be very careful when operating in this heat as prolonged exposure could lead to heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and possible heat stroke.

“With heat exhaustion, the most common symptom would just be that you start to feel very, very tired. You become thirsty,” she said.  “If you don’t treat that, then we move a little further and we go into heat cramps. With the heat cramps now, you actually start getting pain in your legs. You might start getting pain in your arms.And most importantly, you can start suffering from abdominal pain. And then we go further to heat stroke, now where the person then begins know to feel pain. They become nauseous. They become dizzy, and they can even collapse.”

She said certain specific sectors of the population should be especially careful.

“Our older population and our very young population tend to be at greater risk,” she said.  “In the case of the younger population, one of the reasons is simply because they are unable to express how they feel in terms of overheating, for example, with our older population, because as we get older, our metabolism changes, our body doesn’t regulate as well. So then adjusting to very high temperatures as we get older becomes much much more difficult.”

She said the most important thing for everyone to remember during these hot days is to stay hydrated. And while water is recommended there are other effective alternatives.

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“In the case of this extreme heat wave that we’re having, hydration means preferably drinking solutions or liquids that don’t have high contents of sugar,” she said.  “So we’re talking water; water will always be your number one go-to, coconut water because of the fact that it contains electrolytes, and of course you can do Gatorade.”

For the past week the St. Kitts meteorological services has recorded that on average the daily maximum temperature is about 94°F the office says these lofty temperatures are expected to continue until October.