A WARNING was issued at the weekend by the head of the Balearic government's Public Health department that this week and next could become the hottest of the year so far.
Antoni Pallicer highlighted the importance of the use of emergency help points which can be reached by dialling 061 should there be any alarm associated with the high temperatures. He was anxious to calm fears by giving assurances that as yet the National Meteorological Information Service had not reported any disturbing predictions about the move in temperature, although he reiterated the fact that we must be prepared in advance should anything untoward develop in the weather patterns. At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that in June last year, the regional ministry for Health had launched a public health programme entitled Have a healthy summer. The purpose of the campaign was to raise public awareness in a global perspective about taking precautionary measures against illness and discomfort that can be common in the summer months. He furthered that the way to guard against falling prey to excessive heat is for people to arm themselves with the information which the Balearic government has made available to the public for this very purpose. Encouraged by the promising initial results of last year's campaign, the ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs has adapted the theme for this year's summer fitness information programme which it has renamed Fragile. The government, said Pallicer, has set aside 30'000 euros to finance the scheme which targets especially groups of the population which are most vulnerable such as children, those suffering from chronic illnesses and people over 65 years-of-age. The emphasis of the self-help programme is on prevention of conditions which can occur as a direct result of high temperatures typical at this time of year, such as drinking more nonalcoholic fluids; cutting down on physical activity; not eating huge meals; wearing light, comfortable clothes and taking refreshment regularly. Additionally, in a separate section, there is detailed advice on being careful about not taking too much sun, and what protective products can be used to minimise solar damage. Pallicer also pointed to the crucial issue of food purchase in summer, in the sense that keeping cold stuffs at a low temperature should be the prime aim after purchase. Food should be handled and conserved in clean conditions appropriate for its type, and the washing of fruit and vegetables is also a high priority, he stressed. All the information made available by the Balearic government on the issue of health in summer can be obtain in the form of leaflets and posters which have been widely distributed in health centres, hospitals, nurseries and old people's homes.