Ministry of Health to plan for hotter summers

As temperatures hit record highs across New Zealand the Ministry of Health is starting to plan for hotter summers bought on by global warming, Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said today.

“Climate change means summer temperatures are expected to rise across both the North and South Island, increasing the risk of heat stress and subtropical diseases, said Ms Genter.

“The Ministry of Health is developing a nationwide Heat Health Plan to help District Health Boards and community service providers prepare for the health impacts of hotter summers.

“We all know intense heat is a big challenge for people already suffering health conditions, especially the elderly, people with disabilities and chronic disease.

“While New Zealand and the world are taking action to limit climate change, some temperature rise is now locked in and Government has a responsibility to prepare for that.

“Climate change is also likely result in more droughts, wildfires, floods and infectious disease across the country. These are potentially big challenges for the health sector and I want to make sure it ready to tackle them.

“As the hot weather continues my messages to Kiwis is to enjoy it but take care when outside for long periods. Take breaks in the shade, stay hydrated and make sure kids have a water bottle on the at all times, said Ms Genter.

If you are in the sun remember the sun smart message:

·        Slip on a shirt/top with long sleeves and a collar

·        Slip into the shade

·        Slop on sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, broad spectrum and water resistant, and apply 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours

·       Slap on a wide brimmed hat

·        Wrap on close fitting sunglasses.

For more information on tips to stay cool this summer, visit https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/environmental-health/keeping-cool-summer