A new heatwave will engulf the Yucatan Peninsula in the next seven days, posing increased danger to the population and animals. The enemy to the health of Yucatecans has a name: heatstroke. It involves an increase in body temperature, starting from 40 degrees, which can potentially jeopardize vital bodily functions.
According to the 22nd weekly report on epidemiological surveillance associated with extreme temperatures, there have been 14 cases of heatstroke in the state thus far.
The numbers may increase in the coming days as the effects of an anticyclonic system affecting the peninsula will cause an unusual week for the month of June, with significantly high temperatures and extremely hot weather, as reported by meteorologist Juan Vázquez Montalvo from the Institutional Committee for the Attention of Extreme Meteorological Phenomena at the Autonomous University of Yucatan (Ciafeme-UADY).
The forecasts appear to be accurate. The Meteorological Station of the Faculty of Engineering at UADY reported that yesterday, Monday, the heat index reached 56.1°C at 14:38 hours. On Sunday, the heat index in Mérida reached 55.6°C at 13:24 hours, with the maximum temperature recorded at 39.9°C, according to the same institution.
Mérida holds a record for the highest temperature of 46.5°C, recorded on April 27, 2002. Although the predictions suggest that this record will not be surpassed on this occasion, the record for June could be broken. The current record stands at 42.4 degrees, registered on June 16, 1988.
“That month was the warmest in 41 years in Mérida, although the interior of the state experienced even hotter conditions. These are atypical conditions for June and haven’t occurred since 2007,” explained Vázquez Montalvo.
Alerts are in place regarding this invisible enemy. The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) in Yucatan issued a call to the population to take precautions as the high temperatures can cause heatstroke. Similarly, Dr. David Soriano Fuentes recommended that Yucatecans stay hydrated and avoid activities during the hottest hours.
Julio Francisco Hernández Carrillo, the coordinator of Medical Care at the Primary Level at IMSS, explained that heatstroke can be caused not only by prolonged exposure to the sun and high temperatures but also by exercise or strenuous activity in poorly ventilated environments.
Those at higher risk of experiencing this condition are children under five years old, individuals over 65 years old with chronic illnesses (such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity) or heart problems, as well as those who engage in outdoor activities or labor with prolonged sun exposure and significant physical exertion.
Symptoms of heatstroke include headache, excessive sweating or a feeling of extreme fatigue, restlessness, nausea, rapid breathing, and sudden exhaustion. If you or a family member experiences such symptoms, it is recommended to stop physical activity or seek shelter from the high temperatures, as well as drink water to hydrate as soon as possible.
The specialist warned that if cases of heatstroke do not receive appropriate medical attention, they can lead to temporary or permanent complications in organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and brain, resulting in increased heart rate, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, fainting, and even death.