As Belgium faces up to the first heatwave of the year, with temperatures reaching up to 32 degrees on Friday, the Red Cross has issued a reminder of the steps people can take to keep their cool.
In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods, according to the NGO. A heatwave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity.
Protect yourself from the sun During these high temperatures avoid going out in the hottest hours, stick instead to before 11:00 AM or after 5:00 PM. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
Avoid intense physical exertion The excuse we all needed, now is not the time to exercise. The Red Cross recommends avoiding strenuous physical exertion during this period when the temperatures are peaking. It also recommends postpone outdoor games and activities.
“Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate,” “It is very important for older people to drink water regularly, even if the urge to drink is not present. Be careful, drinking too much is not good either: it is recommended not to exceed 1.5L of water per day. Alcohol and caffeine are to be avoided, as they are diuretics (and therefore do not help to keep a good level of hydration)”, explains the Red Cross.
Eat small meals and eat more often.
Keep windows and curtains closed In order to maintain the correct temperature in your home, close your blinds, drapes, shutters, windows and doors to keep it cooler inside.
Take care of those at risk Now is the time to increase visits to the elderly to check they are doing ok & following the steps above.
Temperatures, which are expected to peak at 32 °C on Friday, should fall again as thunderstorms erupt during the night from Friday to Saturday, leaving variable weather in their wake.
On Saturday, intermittent rain and clouds are expected across the country, with a chance of local storms. In the afternoon, the weather will generally become dry, with more clear skies. Highs will still be around 25 °C in the centre of the country, often with a moderate south-westerly wind.
By Sunday, clouds and rain are expected to bring cooler temperatures, with peaks around 21 °C in the centre.