GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Health authorities advised local residents to be on alert for heat stroke and other heat-related diseases due to the rising temperature in the area.

Dr. Washington Loreno, City Health Office (CHO) chief, issued the alert as two residents were already reported to have died this week due to suspected heat stroke and an illness that was believed aggravated by the intense heat.

Fisherman Saturnino Rusia died last Monday due to a suspected case of heat stroke while a young mother identified as Christine Jonah Quizon succumbed to severe asthma attack on Wednesday afternoon.

The official said they are still validating the two cases but initially acknowledged that they could have been triggered by the intense weather in the city.

“The intense heat may trigger or aggravate various illnesses so it’s important for our residents to take some extra precaution,” Loreno said.

Based on the monitoring of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) station here, the city’s temperature reached an average of 35.5° Celsius since Tuesday and a heat index of 43° Celsius.

The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.

On Wednesday, the highest temperature in the city was recorded at 36.3° Celsius and the heat index at 44° Celsius.

Dr. Mely Lastimoso, chief of the CHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit, said the extreme heat could affect the human body’s circulation system and might lead to severe dehydration.

In such condition, she said the flow of blood towards the heart could be affected and trigger some complications.

“So everybody should avoid exposure to direct sunlight and always rehydrate or drink plenty of water,” she said.

Lastimoso said it’s important for residents to have regular physical exercise, eat healthy food and have at least eight hours of sleep a day.

She advised residents to immediately visit local health centers for check-ups should they experience symptoms of heat-related or triggered illnesses.PNA