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Heat to persist in Latvia; medics plead with public to be careful

The heat in Latvia is not going to stop yet, and it is very likely that it will even intensify. Medics are worried about a growing number of heat-related health issues and ask people to take care of their own and their children's safety, Latvian Television reported July 8.

The Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LVĢMC) warns about continuing high heat. On Friday, 9 July, at lunchtime, the temperature bar will step up to +28 degrees Celsius in Kurzeme, while in the central and eastern part of the country it will reach the mark of +32 C to +33 C.

“This year's heat is in some ways atypical because it is rare to have these temperatures for so long, especially in night hours, [they stay] above 20 degrees. And now we have to say that, unfortunately, this situation will continue for at least the next week, and air temperatures will even rise this week,” said Andris Vīksne, head of the LVĢMC forecasts and climate department, adding that there would also be thunderstorms.

Heat worries medics. In recent weeks, for example, medics have seen an influx of overheated children and children affected by heatstroke or various infections. In June, assistance has been provided to 230 children, three times more than at the beginning of the year.

“Our hospital doctors are looking forward to a rainy and gloomy summer, because this means that children's health will be better protected,” said Dace Zaldāte-Rozentāle, spokeswoman for Children's Clinical University Hospital.

Summer has to be enjoyed by all, especially children, yet adults and adults only can ensure that it happens with a hat or helmet in the head, a bottle of water in their hands and a protective cream on their skin, she said.

“A lot of children are with ear pain after swimming, there are children who have nearly drowned, there are a lot of cases of headache, diarrhea and vomiting associated with heat, not just infectious diseases. There has also been a baby who, unfortunately, has sustained very serious ulcers in the sun by burning. We therefore call on adults to remember that we can take care of the safety of children,” Zaldāte-Rozentāle said.

Both medics and meteorologists call for people to avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day and if possible until evening. Care should be taken of the elderly for whom high heat can exacerbate chronic illnesses. It must be remembered that the UV radiation affects health even in cloudy weather.

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