|Heatwave tips Spain|
Ola de Calor - Heatwave Barcelona
Barcelona often gets heatwaves in July and August when temperatures rise to over 30 degrees in the shade. Here are some important and simple precautions on how to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you need help call the Barcelona Emergency Services number 061.
Very high temperatures and excessive heat cause extra loss of liquids and mineral salts like chlorine, potassium, sodium, etc. which are needed by the body. This can quickly make existing chronic illnesses worse and cause dehydration and exhaustion and if precautions are not taken, can cause heatstroke, a serious condition.In a severe heatwave, extra strain is placed on the heart as it tries to cool the body - this can lead to an increase in heart related illnesses.Additionally, air quality often gets worse during a heatwave, which can make respiratory symptoms worse.
Heat exhaustion symptoms include:
-nausea and vomiting
-muscle weakness or cramps
-a sudden rise in body temperature
If these symptoms appear during your stay in Barcelona or Catalonia, then you should move somewhere cool and drink plenty of water or fruit juice. If possible, take a lukewarm shower, or sponge yourself with cold water. If heat exhaustion is left untreated, heatstroke can develop, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning.
Heatstroke symptoms include:
an intense thirst
hot, red and dry skin
a sudden rise in temperature
convulsions and a loss of consciousness
Heatstroke can result in irreversible damage to the body, including the brain, or death.
If you see or have heatstroke symptoms call Barcelona emergency services urgently on 061.
While waiting for an ambulance
If someone is suffering heatstroke and have called the ambulance:
-Try to move the person to somewhere cooler
-Increase ventilation by opening windows and using a fan
-Cool them down as quickly as possible by loosening clothes, sprinkling them with cold water or wrapping them in a damp sheet
-If they are conscious, give them water or fruit juice to drink;
-Do not give aspirin or paracetamol.
Who is most at risk during a heatwave.
The following groups of people are at particular risk during a heatwave:
-older people, especially those over 75 years old and living on their own, or in a care home;
-people suffering from mental ill health, those with dementia, and those who rely on help from other people to -manage day-to-day activities;
-people who are bed-bound or have mobility problems;
-people taking certain types of medication;
-people with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems;
-people who already have a high temperature from an infection;
-people who use alcohol or illicit drugs;
-babies and young children, especially under four years old;
-people who are physically active such as manual workers, or sportsmen and women
Precautions to take during a heatwave in Barcelona
-Drink regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty. Water and fruit juice are best.
-Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.
-Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water
-Keep out of the heat
-If possible, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (12.00- 17.00). If you cannot avoid strenuous activity like sport, DIY, or gardening, keep it for the cooler parts of the day such as early morning.
-If you must go out, stay in the shade.
-Wear a hat and light loose fitting clothes, preferably cotton.
-Drink plenty of water and carry it with you.
-Stay cool If you can, stay inside, in the coolest rooms in the house.
-Reduce heat form sunlight coming through the windows. External shading, e.g. shutters, is best.
-Metal blinds and dark curtains absorb heat and make rooms warmer – replace with curtains with white lining to reflect heat.
-Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside and open them when the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation.
-Take cool showers or baths and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck.
-A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can also help you to stay cool.
-use a Spanish hand fan. They can be bought in most souvenir shops.
Where to buy fans in Barcelona?
You can buy a huge assortment of electric fans and stand-alone air-conditioning units in many big hypermarkets in Barcelona like Carrefour or Alcampo. You can also buy fans in Barcelona in hardware stores in the city centre like Miro which have many locations in Barcelona - and in and bigger hardware chains like Bauhaus Barcelona in the zona franca area just outside Barcelona and Leroy Merlin Barcelona in Sant Boi de Llobregat just outside Barcelona.
Sources: gencat and dh.gov.uk
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