U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – VI Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion advises the public to take steps to stay hydrated and cool as temperatures rise into the mid-90s throughout the weekend.

As of 5 p.m. today, the National Weather Service placed the USVI and Puerto Rico under Excessive Heat Watch, which will remain in effect until Sunday afternoon. Temperatures are expected to soar as high 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, lingering Saharan Dust particles persist across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the National Weather Service.

“Excessive heat may cause heat exhaustion which may in turn lead to heat stroke,” said Commissioner Encarnacion. “Make sure you drink lots of water and remain where it is cool. Also ensure that those who are in the household with you, young children, or the elderly, do the same – and do not forget that pets are also affected by the high heat.”

“We are also encouraging individuals with asthma, chronic lung disease and other respiratory illnesses to limit their time outdoors, or if they must be outdoors, to do so in the earliest part of the day and to limit physical activity,” Commissioner Encarnacion said.

Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, thirst, sweating, nausea, and weakness. The Department of Health provides the following advisory for staying safe during the heat wave:

  • Stay Hydrated – drink lots of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can be dehydrating. 
  • Stay cool – Where possible, stay indoors in a controlled, cool room during the hottest parts of the day. 
  •  Dress appropriately – Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and a hat to protect your head and face. 
  • Take it easy – Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day. 
  • Check on others – If you have older relatives, friends, or neighbors, check on them regularly to ensure they are ok. 
  • Know the signs of a heat stroke – Head stroke is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include high body temperature, confusion, and loss of consciousness. 
  • Seek Medical attention if necessary – If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or experience any other symptoms of heat exhaustion, seek medical attention right away.