TA Lifeguards Play Hooky as Bathers Swelter on Land; Heat to Peak Tomorrow

Incidents of severe dehydration nearly doubled in past decade. 'Drinking water and wearing sunscreen save lives'

Lifeguard shortages in Tel Aviv continued yesterday, prompting yet again the closure of the city's Tzuk beach. Over the past week, 16 of the city's 52 lifeguards were absent from duty. As Interior Ministry regulations demand the presence of at least three lifeguards at each station, the city had to shut down one of its 13 lifeguard stations altogether - sporadically closing and opening Hilton and Tzuk beaches in the north of the city.

Tel Aviv beach
Nir Kafri
Herzliya issuesall-clear on pollution

Tel Aviv municipality said yesterday that the lifeguards were absent each for his own personal reasons, and that the beachgoers were made aware of the closures with signposting and public service announcements. The city was working to recruit new lifeguards but is faced with a severe shortage of candidates.

In Herzliya, the three beaches closed due to sewage spills - Accadia North, South and Center - were reopened yesterday, after Health Ministry tests confirmed that the pollution had been washed away.

Meanwhile, Magen David Adom released a survey indicating a 84 percent rise in reports of dehydration in the past decade, from 399 reports in 2000 to 721 in July 2010. MDA's director of training, Dr. Eli Yaffe, told Haaretz that the report was representative of only about 5 percent of dehydration cases, since in about 95 percent of dehydration incidents the victims prefer to take a rest and consult a physician, rather than call an ambulance. He advised to take breaks during physical activity and to drink even when not feeling thirsty.

MDA Director General Eli Bin told Haaretz the statistical rise did not only correspond to rising average temperatures, but was caused by carelessness on part of travelers in hot areas in the summer months. "Keeping to basic precautions like drinking lots of water and protecting yourself from the sun is necessary and can save lives," said Bin.

Health Ministry guidelines recommend avoiding unnecessary physical activity in hot weather, drinking eight to 10 glasses of water per day and staying as much as possible in air-conditioned spaces. When going outdoors, it is recommended to wear bright clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Meanwhile, after an already hot week, temperatures were set to rise still further over the weekend, reaching up to 37 degrees in Jerusalem and 35 along the coast. Humidity will drop, however, making the heat stress factor less severe.