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How to stay safe in hot weather

It is important to drink enough, as we lose more fluid when we sweat, which results in dehydration and increased blood viscosity that can cause thrombosis, brain injury or heart attack.

• Cool yourself down and drink enough water
• Drink regularly still water and low calorie drinks free of caffeine, alcohol and sugar to avoid greater dehydration. Refresh yourself by melting an ice cube in your mouth. Avoid dehydration by drinking diluted juice fruit such as lemonade: adults every 1-2 hours, and children 1-2 spoons or a sip of water every 15-20 minutes. Do not wait to feel thirsty to drink, especially if you are elderly and have less acute sense of thirst.
• Avoid direct sun between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. This especially applies to children, pregnant women, elderly, heart patients, and patients with chronic diseases (mental disorders, diabetes etc.)
• Have a shower or a bath in lukewarm water. You can also wrap yourself in cold wet towels or cool yourself down using a wet sponge, a foot bath etc. You can place wet towels on children’s hands and feet.
• Wear light loose-fitting clothes made of natural material. If you have to go out, wear a wide-brimmed hat or a cap and sun glasses, and to protect yourself from direct sun it is useful to have an umbrella or a fan with you.
• Your bed linen should be light, if possible without a pillow, to avoid accumulation of body heat.
• Eat more frequent small liquid meals. Avoid too much protein-rich food and, if you can, prepare mixed fresh fruit, a “smoothie”, or a light soup to replenish lost minerals, viamins and electrolytes.

Cool your home
• Try to cool your home, ideally by keeping temperature below 32°C at day and 24°C at night. This is particularly important for children, persons older than 60 years of age and people with chronic health problems.
• Use cooler night air to cool your home down. If possible, open all windows or raise window blinds or shutters during night or early morning hours, when external temperature is lower.
• Reduce the quantity of hot air in your flat or house. Close the windows and shutters during the day, especially those facing the sun. Turn off all light and as many electric devices as possible.
• Shade or cover windows exposed to morning or afternoon sunlight. However, do not forget that this increases air humidity.
• If you have an air conditioner, close the doors and windows to avoid spending more energy than needed. Adjust the temperature so that it is not more than 7˚C lower than outside.
• Electric fans can provide relief and refreshment, but if the air temperature is above 35˚C, they will not prevent heat-related health problems. They will, however, help speed up the air flow when you let fresh air circulate in the evening.

Avoid the heat
• Move to the coolest part of your flat or house, especially at night.
• If your flat or house are not cool enough, spend two or three hours a day in a cool place (e.g. public building).
• Avoid being out during the hottest part of the day.
• Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid it, do it when it is coolest, usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m., and after 5 p.m.
• Stay in shade.
• Do not leave children nor animals in a parked car.
• Regularly apply sunscreens to protect yourself from UV radiation. Special care should be taken of newborns and infants. They should be protected by sunscreens with the highest sun protection factor (>30) and dressed in lightweight clothes that also protect against UV rays.
• Adapt your exposure to sun UV radiation to daily UV index variations.
• If you drive, avoid travelling during the hottest part of the day.

If you feel unwell
• If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache, seek help, move to a cooler space, and take your temperature.
• Take sips of water or non-sweetened fruit juice multiple times.
• Relax and lay down in a cool room if you have painful cramps, most often in legs, arms or abdomen, which occur frequently after physical labour or exercise in very hot weather.
• Drink fluids containing electrolytes (e.g. soup, vegetable „smoothie“ etc.), and, in case cramps last longer than an hour, seek medical assistance.
• Talk to a physician if you have other difficulties or if problems described persist.

Important phone numbers for Istria/Croatia:
Ambulance: 194
Emergency communication centre: 112

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