The Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare has activated the National Plan of Preventive Actions against the Effects of Excess of Temperatures. It is an initiative framed in the Summer Plan.
The Plan to prevent the effects of high temperatures remains active from June 1 to September 15. In addition, there is a follow-up in the fifteen days before and the month after this period in case an activation of the National Plan is necessary due to abnormally high temperatures that require prior activation or re-activation of the Plan.
The objective of the National Plan is to prevent and mitigate the negative effects that excessive heat can have on the health of citizens, especially in groups at risk or more vulnerable, such as elderly people, pregnant women, children and the chronically ill, as well as in people who work or make efforts outdoors.
To minimize the damage that these people may suffer, the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare insists on a decalogue of general recommendations:
1. Drink water or fluids frequently, even if you do not feel thirsty and regardless of the physical activity you do.
2. Do not abuse drinks with caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar, as they can lose more body fluid.
3. Although anyone can suffer a heat-related problem, pay special attention to babies and small children, seniors and people with diseases that can be aggravated by heat and dehydration, such as heart disease.
4. Stay as long as possible in cool, shaded or heated places, and refresh yourself whenever you need it.
5. Try to reduce physical activity and avoid practicing outdoor sports during the hottest hours (12.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.).
6. Wear light, loose clothing that lets perspiration.
7. Never leave anyone in a parked and locked vehicle (especially children, the elderly or the chronically ill).
8. Consult your doctor for symptoms that last more than an hour and may be related to high temperatures.
9. Keep your medicines in a cool place; the heat can alter its composition and its effects.
10. Make light meals that help replenish the salts lost by sweating (salads, fruits, vegetables, juices, etc.).
One of the priority actions of the Plan is to alert health authorities and citizens sufficiently in advance of possible risk situations. To this end, the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare will provide the Autonomous Communities daily with predictions of temperatures (maximum and minimum) prepared by the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET). This information will also be available to citizens on the Ministry's website.
The Plan takes into account the following meteorological variables: the maximum and minimum temperatures expected at five days, the maximum and minimum temperatures recorded the day before the date of the prediction and the maximum and minimum threshold temperatures, established on the basis of epidemiological studies that have allowed to relate excess temperature and mortality. In addition, the persistence over time of excess temperature is considered a risk factor for health. The assignment of levels is done using the following criteria:
- Level 0 (green), of absence of risk, occurs when it is expected that on any day of the following five consecutive days, the threshold temperatures will be exceeded.
- Level 1 (yellow), low risk, it is expected that 1 or 2 days of the following five consecutive days, are exceeded the threshold temperatures.
- The level 2 (orange), of medium risk, is expected that 3 or 4 days of the following five consecutive days, the threshold temperatures are exceeded.
- Level 3 (red), high risk, is activated when it is expected that the threshold temperatures are exceeded in each of the following five days.
This information is updated daily in the Web page of the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare. Citizens can also subscribe to a service by September 15 to receive the prediction of the temperatures and the level of risk of the province requested in the email and on the mobile phone. Access to these subscriptions is made through the Ministry's website in this link.
In 2018 level 3 (red or high risk) of the National Plan of Preventive Actions was activated from the effects of excesses of temperatures on health on 50 occasions, being the province with the highest number of level 3 activations Lleida ( 8). On August 2, there were a total of 14 provinces in the red level simultaneously.
Level 2 (orange or medium risk) was activated 129 times during the activation period of the plan, with the provinces with the highest number of levels being orange Granada (18), Pontevedra (10) and Zaragoza (10). On July 31 there was a total of 16 provinces in orange level simultaneously.
Level 1 (yellow or low risk) was activated on 392 occasions, distributed among 42 provincial capitals, with Zaragoza (30) having the highest number. July 30 was the day when the greatest number of yellow alerts occurred (25 provincial capitals simultaneously).
During the 2018 season there was a total of 79 days with alerts of some kind, with the provinces with the highest number of alerts of any type Granada and Zaragoza with 46, followed by Lleida with 35 and Murcia with 33. The week with the most alerts was the between July 30 to August 5, with a total of 113 activations of level 1 (yellow), 78 of level 2 (orange) and 42 of level 3 (red).
This year, from September 15 to October 15, two level 1 activations were registered (yellow color), one in Badajoz and one in Cádiz.
In 10 provinces, risk level 0 was never exceeded.