A WOMAN was in critical condition in Nicosia general hospital yesterday suffering from heat stroke, as temperatures hit 42 degrees Celsius in the capital, with scant respite expected in the coming days.
The woman, aged 72, was brought by ambulance to hospital on Sunday in a comatose state. Her body temperature was 43 degrees.
Doctors yesterday said she remained in a critical condition in the intensive care unit and that the next 24 hours would be critical.
The woman had been living alone in Ayios Dhometios.
The island today enters the second week of the latest heat wave, which has seen temperatures top 40 degrees every day since last Tuesday. In late June, temperatures topped 40C for eight consecutive days. Four elderly people died from heatstroke during that week.
Yesterday’s heat was slightly down from Sunday’s levels, which saw temperatures peak near 44 degrees.
Police said the heat was to blame for the death of a man on Sunday.
Ukrainian Chmyr Bogdan, 46, died of heat stroke aggravated by heavy drinking in his Lykavitos home.
Reports said he had drunk three to four bottles of vodka with a group of friends. He complained of feeling unwell at 6.30pm and went to lie down.
The man’s wife, a nurse at the private Apollonion Clinic, reported her husband unconscious at 6.45pm. Paramedics called to the scene found Bogdan, who was unemployed, dead in his bed. They reported that his body was radiating heat.
The apartment did not have air conditioning or a fan, they said.
The Head of the Weather Services Kyriacos Theofilou said yesterday the temperatures seen over the past few days were among the highest ever recorded for the month, with 43.8C on Sunday, close to the July high of 44.2C in 2000.
According to Met Office records, the all-time high recorded by the Cyprus government was 44.4 degrees on August 8, 1956.
However, the unofficial record is 46.7 degrees, measured by the British on July 19, 1888.
Chief Meteorological Officer Loizos Stefanou yesterday blamed strong, hot easterly winds for the extreme heat, saying Sunday was the hottest day of the year so far.
He added that the temperature was expected to drop by a degree or two today and tomorrow, before returning to the seasonal average of 37C by Friday, as the wind changes direction.
At noon yesterday, humidity readings were 78 per cent in Larnaca, 68 per cent in Paphos, 63 per cent in Paralimni, 39 per cent in Limassol and 25 per cent in Nicosia.
The Labour Ministry again issued an announcement saying nobody should work outside between noon and 4pm, unless the work involved is very light, with plenty of shade and water provided.
Despite Sunday’s heat related death, a spokesman at Nicosia General Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit explained that over the years, the public had learnt how to cope with the heat and was taking the necessary measures in order to minimise possible health risks.
The high demand for electricity also continued, with the Electricity Authority however insisting that no problems were forecast.
Monday’s total capacity was 1056 MW, with demand peaking at a record 1042 MW by 1.15pm.
Nevertheless, widespread power cuts were reported, with some hotels in the Famagusta district reporting blackouts lasting up to four hours. Similar problems were also affecting Paphos and Nicosia last night.
Doctors have warned people to take precautionary measures against the extreme heat.
If you are going to exercise, do so before 10am or after 7pm. It is important to drink plenty of water, even when you do not feel thirsty, in order to avoid dehydration, which is the main cause of heat exhaustion.
Remember to wear loose fitting clothing and light colours, as dark colours absorb heat. A hat and sunglasses are also recommended.
Wear high factor sunscreen of at least SPF15 on exposed areas of skin.
Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol as they only make you thirstier. Eat less food, which should not be heavy.
Do not stay in the sun for longer than one hour and especially not between midday and 4pm.