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Information for the general public during heat-wave
30 Oct 2019

Information for the general public during heat-wave

Many parts of the country are experiencing excessive heat (high temperatures) and this has various negative health impacts on human health. In order to minimize the effects of the heat wave, the Ministry of Health and Population is providing the following information to the general public during this period.


• Aim to keep your living space cool. Check the room temperature between 08:00 and 10:00, at 13:00 and at night after 22:00. Ideally, the room temperature should be kept below 32 °C during the day and 24 °C during night. This is especially important for infants or people who are over 60 years of age or have chronic health Conditions.
• Use the night air to cool down your home. Open windows and shutters during the night and the early morning, when the outside temperature is lower (if safe to do so).
• Reduce the heat load inside the apartment or house.Close windows and shutters (if available) especially those facing the sun during the day. Turn off artificial lighting and as many electrical devices as possible.
• Hang shades, draperies, awnings or louvers on window that receive morning or afternoon sun.
• Hang wet towels to cool down the room air. Note that the humidity of the air increases at the same time.
• If your residence is air conditioned, close the doors and windows and conserve electricity not needed to keep you cool, to ensure that power remains available and reduce the chance of a community-wide outage.
• Electric fans may provide relief, but when the temperature is above 35 °C, may not prevent heat related illness. It is important to drink fluids.


• Move to the coolest room in the home, especially at night.
• If it is not possible to keep your home cool, spend 2–3 hours of the day in a cool place (such as an air conditioned public building).
• Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day.
• Avoid strenuous physical activity if you can. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 and 7:00.
• Stay in the shade.
• Schools are advised to adjust starting and ending time for lessons to avoid peak hours of hotness.
• Where possible under shade or open fresh air.
• Where possible working shifts should be adjusted to shorter working hours.
• Do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles.
Keep the body cool and hydrated
• Take cool showers or baths. Alternatives include cold packs and wraps, towels, sponging, foot baths, etc.
• Wear light, loose-fitting clothes of natural materials. If you go outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap and Sunglasses.Use light bed linen and sheets, and no cushions, to avoid heat accumulation.
• Drink fluids regularly, but avoid alcohol and too much caffeine and sugar.


• Plan to check on family, friends, and neighbours who spend much of their time alone. Vulnerable people (such as persons with disabilities) might need assistance on hot days.
• Discuss extreme heat-waves with your family. Everyone should know what to do in the places where they spend time.
• If anyone you know is at risk, help him or her to get advice and support. Elderly or sick people living alone should be visited at least daily.
• If a person is taking medication, ask the treating doctor how it can influence thermo regulation and the fluid balance.
• Everyone should know how to respond.


• Keep medicines at a cool place (below 25 °C) or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).
• Seek medical advice from your nearest health facility or health worker if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications.


• Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature.
• Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate

Dr Dan Namarika
29TH October, 2019