17 May, 2024 @ 18:00
1 min read

Spain launches national plan to manage risk from extreme heat and ‘save lives’ ahead of 40C-plus temperatures this summer

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SPAIN has launched its annual plan to alert vulnerable people about heatwaves during the summer.

The initiative from the Health Ministry has run for 20 years and will be active until September 30- with an option to extend it to October 15 if needed.

A new feature will be meteoalert zones kicking in from June 3, which will be a reference map for extreme heat warnings.

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The 182 meteohealth zones are designated areas of the country that according to previous years vary in temperature between each other.

The plan’s main objective is to prevent and reduce impact of high temperatures on the elderly, pregnant women, children and the chronically ill.

Another important category takes in workers who are employed for ‘open air’ tasks.

One of the priorities is to alert regional health authorities and the public, of possible risk situations with ‘sufficient advance notice’ so that preventive measures can be taken.

It will done via forecasts provided by the State Meteorological Agency(Aemet) with the Health Ministry passing on details daily to the country’s 17 regions.

A high temperature threshold of impact on health will be reduced for each region and the Ministry will notify a daily risk level for each area.

Level 0 or green, means there is no risk; level 1 or yellow, donates a low risk; level 2 or orange, marks medium risk; and level 3 or red, is a high risk category.

A series of general recommendations to prevent the effects of high temperatures has been published which include drinking water and liquids frequently and avoiding caffeinated, alcoholic or highly sugary drinks that could cause dehydration.

They also say that people should use shady and cool places as well as avoiding outdoor sports in the middle of the day.

They also recommend wearing ‘light, loose-fitting clothing’ and to never leaving anyone in a parked car, especially if they are children, the elderly or people with chronic diseases.

If any heat-related symptoms last more than an hour, the Ministry recommends going to see a doctor.

It also advises keeping medicines in a cool place so that their composition is not altered and to have light meals (such as salads, fruits, vegetables or juices), which ‘help replace salts lost through sweat’.

Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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