The Mexican Caribbean is at the peak of the annual period of high temperatures as authorities urge residents to take precautionary measures. Known locally as the canícula, this weather phenomenon can see temperatures rise well above 40 degrees celsius. Tourists visiting Quintana Roo over this period should be aware of the health-related risks of higher temperatures.
Parts of the Mexican Caribbean have experienced unusually warm weather lately, causing public health officials to sound the alert over high temperatures. Residents in Tulum, one of the hardest-hit cities by the rising temperatures, are being told to be cautious and avoid long exposure to the temperatures. The health warnings are especially important for elderly people or individuals prone to other health issues.
Known by locals as canícula, this weather phenomenon refers to a period of unusually hot temperatures which began on July 3 and lasts until 11 August. Mid to late July typically sees the highest temperature, with temperatures as high as 40 degrees celsius and above recorded annually. This week, large parts of the Mexican Caribbean reported a thermal sensation of around 40 degrees celsius, and the country’s meteorological service is forecasting highs of 35 degrees celsius this week.
Although the Mexican Caribbean is used to warm temperatures year-round, intense heat waves are a significant issue as many people lack the means to keep their homes cool. Tourists are at risk too, especially elderly visitors, and basic precautions are more important than ever during this period.
According to Tulum’s public health director Sonia Vargas Torres, the period of high heat poses a real risk to people’s health and wellbeing. Dehydration is one of the biggest health concerns facing residents and tourists, so drinking small sips of water around the day goes a long way. Higher temperatures may also cause digestive issues and exacerbate other health conditions. Lastly, visitors should be aware of the danger posed by heatstroke, when the body’s core temperature rises above 38 degrees celsius. Some of the main symptoms to look out for include dizziness or confusion, as well as profuse sweating.
With the rising temperatures, residents and visitors are being advised to take steps to mitigate health-related dangers. Vulnerable individuals should avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible from 11 in the morning until 5 P.M, according to Vargas Torres. For those headed to the beach or pool, sunscreen is a must. Another valuable piece of advice is to use light-colored clothing, which absorbs less heat. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is not advised due to their dehydrating effect.
Tourists should also pay close attention to the real feel temperature, which may be significantly higher than the actual recorded temperature. In many instances, the real feel easily reaches 38-40 degrees celsius, at which point visitors should avoid spending prolonged periods in the intense heat.
According to the national forecast service, temperatures in Quintana Roo range from 30 to 35 degrees this week, with the real feel temperature reaching 38 to 39 degrees celsius in places like Tulum, Cancun, and Isla Mujeres. However, rain and occasional thunderstorms are forecast for large parts of the state later on in the week.
It’s a good idea to regularly check the weather forecast on the Mexican Meteorological Agency’s website, which issues warnings in case of high temperatures and other weather-related phenomena. In addition to higher temperatures, tourists should also be aware of the ongoing hurricane season, which began in June and is set to last until late November. With 9 hurricanes expected this year, hotels around the Mexican Caribbean have been taking measures to prepare themselves for the unusually active hurricane season.
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