THE sudden downpours and storms which hit parts of the island yesterday may have cooled the atmosphere a little, but, according to the weatherman, the heatwave will continue. In fact, despite the rain, the highest temperature yesterday was 34.6ºC , registered in Porreres.
It has, say the experts, been the hottest summer and the hottest August in the Balearics since records have been kept.
With just five days to go before the end of the month, the average temperature recorded at the Portopi weather station has been 29.8ºC. This is an astonishing 4.6ºC higher than the August average and 1.9ºC higher than August 1994, the previous record holder when it was 27.9ºC. The third hottest month on record is last July, at 27.8ºC. José Antonio Guijarro of the Weather Centre, said that the high temperatures will continue until the end of the month.
The minimum temperatures have been more than 25ºC, when it is considered difficult to sleep comfortably when the thermometer goes above 22ºC.
In view of the high temperatures, the PSM (Majorcan Socialist Party) has called on the health ministry to draw up a plan of action for next summer, to prevent an increase in illnesses and deaths. The plan should include advice on preventive measures, especially among the more vulnerable sectors of society, such as the elderly, children and the chronically sick. A party spokesman said that all hospitals and government and island council run homes should have air conditioning.
In the meantime, the central health ministry has set up a web site with information about the heatwave, offering advice on caring for under-fives, the elderly and people with illnesses which could be aggravated by the heat. Advice given is to increase the amount of liquid consumed, without waiting to be thirsty, in order to prevent dehydration; avoid alcohol or very sugary drinks; avoid heavy meals; eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and take special care in cleaning them; do not stay out in the sun too long; reduce activity; rest frequently in the shade; wear light, loose clothing, preferably natural fibres in light colours; use hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Action to be taken in case of sunstroke includes moving the person to a shady place, keeping the head raised, applying compresses and seeking medical aid.

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