MADRID – It is abnormally warm in Spain for the time of year. That is why the Spanish Ministry of Health is considering activating the heat plan earlier than usual.
Normally, the heat plan starts on June 1, but this year it could come into effect as early as May 15, depending on the situation in each autonomous region. The ministry’s announcement comes at a time when large parts of the country are experiencing summer-like temperatures. These temperatures are expected to reach their peak on Friday, with values above 32º and even approaching 40º in the interior of Andalucia.
Measures in heat plan
The heat plan involves various public health measures to protect people from the effects of the heat. This includes adjusting school times, monitoring air conditioning in health centres and elderly residences, increasing the frequency of public transport and advancing the opening hours of swimming pools.
Children, the elderly and the chronically ill are vulnerable
The ministry reminds us that excessive heat can disrupt our vital functions and cause health problems such as cramps, dehydration, sunstroke and even multiple organ problems with symptoms such as gait instability, convulsions and coma. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions are particularly vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat.
Highlight on Friday
The Spanish meteorological service Aemet predicts that the warm weather in the country will continue and peak on Thursday and Friday, with temperatures above 38°C in the south of the country. Consequently, the heat plan is intended to provide information to prevent and reduce the negative effects of heat on health.
The Ministry of Health will activate the heat plan based on Aemet’s forecasts. This service provides daily maximum and minimum temperatures per province and forecasts for the next five days. The risk levels are determined based on the number of days on which the established thresholds are exceeded. They range from “Level 0” to “Level 3”. On this basis, the Autonomous Regions will take appropriate measures to protect the health of citizens.