CEBU CITY, Philippines—For several weeks now, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has logged heat index or apparent temperature, under the extreme caution category, or between 33 to 41 degrees Celsius.
This is the result of the termination of the La Niña season and the start warm or dry season in the country.
Pagasa experts, however, said there is a big chance that the country will experience El Niño in the second half of this year.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global temperatures and the frequency and intensity of heat waves will rise in the 21st century, as a result of climate change.
“Extended periods of high day and nighttime temperatures create cumulative physiological stress on the human body which exacerbates the top causes of death globally, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and renal disease,” WHO explained in a 2018 article entitled “Heat and Health.”
According to the WHO, the body’s ability to regulate temperature is compromised by fast increases in body heat, which can lead to a variety of disorders such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and hyperthermia.
Tips to beat the heat
WHO suggested several steps the public can take to alleviate conditions amid the increase in temperature.
This includes keeping the home cool. WHO advised the public to use the night air to cool down their homes.
The public can open all 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”
The public can also hang shades and draperies on windows that receive morning or afternoon sun or they can hang wet towels to cool down the room air.
Another way is to keep out of the heat and keep the body cool and hydrated.
Avoiding strenuous physical activity can also help, but if one must do strenuous activity, he or she should do it during the coolest part of the day.
To prevent heat buildup, it is also recommended to use light bed linens and sheets without any padding.
“Drink regularly, but avoid alcohol and too much caffeine and sugar. Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein,” WHO advised.
Lastly, it is best to plan to check on family, friends, and neighbors who spend much of their time alone, as vulnerable people might need assistance on hot days.