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Preventive measures against heat stroke and sunburn

     In anticipation of hot weather in the coming few days, the Department of Health (DH) has reminded members of the public, particularly those undertaking outdoor activities, to take necessary measures to prevent heat stroke and sunburn.

     The Assistant Director of Health (Health Promotion), Dr Regina Ching, advised that members of the public should carry and drink plenty of water to prevent excessive loss of water from the body while engaged in outdoor activities.

     "People engaging in strenuous outdoor activities should avoid beverages containing caffeine (such as coffee and tea) and alcohol, as these substances speed up water loss from the body through the urinary system.

     "Particular attention should be paid to children, the elderly, the sick (including those with heart disease and high blood pressure) and obese persons, who are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses," Dr Ching said.

     When going outdoors, the following preventive measures would be useful:

* Wear light-coloured loose clothing to reduce heat absorption and facilitate sweat evaporation and heat dissipation.

* Do not engage in prolonged activities such as hiking or trekking in extremely hot weather, as heat, sweating and exhaustion place additional demands on one's physique.

* Choose to perform outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon if possible.

* Reschedule your work to cooler times of the day. If you must work in a hot environment, introduce shading in the work areas where practicable, then start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. Get into a cool area for a rest every now and then to let your body recuperate.

* Take heed of the measured and forecast UV index released by the Hong Kong Observatory. When the UV index is high (6 or above), the public should consider wearing long-sleeved clothing made from close woven fabric, wearing a wide-brim hat or using an umbrella, seeking shade, putting on UV-blocking sunglasses and applying sunscreen with a protection factor of 15 or above. The above precautions should be reinforced for higher UV levels.

* Ensure adequate ventilation when exercising indoors.

     Dr Ching said that any person feeling unwell should stop exercising immediately and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

     Members of the public who wish to get more information on the prevention of heat stroke and protection against UV radiation can call the DH's Central Health Education Unit Hotline at 2833 0111. Information can also be obtained from the DH's health educational homepage at

Ends/Monday, August 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 09:23


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