Hong Kong residents are advised to take precautions as the extremely hot weather has hit the city. 

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Thermometer in front of an urban skyline during heatwave

On Monday, May 29, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) reminded the public to heed these measures.

“The public should carry and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration while engaging in outdoor activities,” a spokesperson of the CHP said.

“Those engaged in strenuous outdoor activities should avoid beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee and tea, as well as alcohol, as they speed up water loss through the urinary system.”

In addition, the CHP warned of certain groups taking extra precautions.

“Children, the elderly, the obese and those with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, are more vulnerable to heat stroke. They should pay special attention.

The CHP also laid out other precautions with the ongoing extreme heat:

  • Wear loose and light-coloured clothing to reduce heat absorption and facilitate sweat evaporation and heat dissipation;
  • Avoid vigorous exercise and prolonged activities like hiking or trekking as heat, sweating and exhaustion can place additional demands on the physique;
  • Perform outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon;
  • For indoor activities, open all windows, use a fan or use air-conditioning to maintain good ventilation;
  • Do not stay inside a parked vehicle; and
  • Reschedule work to cooler times of the day. If working in a hot environment is inevitable, introduce shade in the workplace where practicable. Start work slowly and pick up the pace gradually. Move to a cool area for rest at regular intervals to allow the body to recuperate.

With the extreme heat, the Hong Kong Observatory (HK) also forecasted the Ultraviolet (UV) Index.

If the UV index is high (6 or above):

  • Minimize direct exposure of the skin and the eyes to sunlight;
  • Wear long-sleeved and loose-fitting clothes;
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella;
  • Seek a shaded area or put on UV-blocking sunglasses;
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above. Apply liberally and reapply after swimming, sweating or towelling off; and
  • While using DEET-containing insect repellents for personal protection against mosquito-borne diseases, apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent.

A doctor should be consulted right away if symptoms like dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath or confusion.

More information could be found at the DH’s DH’s Health Education Infoline (2833 0111), heat stroke page and UV radiation page; the HKO’s Dial-a-Weather (1878 200), latest weather report and forecast, UV Index and weather information for hiking and mountaineering; and press releases of the Labour Department on precautions against heat stroke for outdoor workers and their employers when the Very Hot Weather Warning is in force.