Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum predicts near record heat in the Caribbean from April to September 2024

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) has predicted near record heat in the Caribbean region from April to September 2024; with particularly hot conditions expected in August and September.

The implications of this forecast include an increased risk of heat stress among vulnerable populations and small livestock due to high temperatures and rising humidity in September.

The need for cooling solutions is expected to rise earlier and faster than in previous years, peaking in August and September.

Up to June 2024, this forecast predicts an increase in heat compared to previous years; with Barbados projected to experience between thirty (30) to fifty (50) heatwaves.

With the above in mind, please see the below that can assist in the alleviation of feeling the heat:

*Drink Plenty Fluids*

Water assists in regulating your body temperature, and in turn allows the body to cool off when the environment gets warmer. Cold water is better, and (according to The Red Cross) one should aim to drink at least three-quarters of a gallon of water a day.

*Retreat to Cool Areas*

Although air conditioning units are a great additive, not all have access to them. If it is possible to spend two to three hours within public areas that have a cooling space, this measure can help to avoid heat associated illnesses. In addition, one should avoid going outside during the hottest period of the day. As the day progresses to evening, move to the coolest part of your home.

*Skip the Cooking*

Stock up on foods that are either microwave ready or can be eaten without any warm preparations. The unnecessary use of your stove during a heat wave can make your living space much warmer.

*Plan Outdoor Activities*

If you have errands or outdoor chores that require attention, try to do same early or late on evenings to avoid peak temperatures. Stay in the shade where possible if venturing outside.

*Stay in Touch*

For those of us that have elderly relatives that live alone, check in on them as their individual ability to regulate body temperature is significantly lowered, and any heat-related illnesses are difficult to detect.

*Dress for the Occasion*

Wear loose-fitting lightweight clothing that are made of natural fibers to keep cool; for example, tank tops/light-colored shorts and t-shirts made of cotton or linen that are breathable and will assist in regulating your body temperature. Unlike polyester and other synthetic materials that make you sweat, perspiration becomes stagnate and you will not cool down. In addition, dark clothing will attract heat.

*Watch your Pet/s*

If your pet seems listless, unable or unwilling to move they may be suffering from the heat. They must go to a Veterinarian immediately.

Recognize the Symptoms

Individual heat tolerance varies; however, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures can begin to make one feel ill. Heat exhaustion is indicated by symptoms such as heavy sweating, weakness and digestive issues. Retreat to a cool area, rest and drink plenty fluids.

*NOTE:* Heat stroke is very serious and is characterized by a body temperature over 103°F, red skin that does not produce sweat, a rapid pulse and confusion. Remember heat stroke requires immediate medical attention.

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