The Health Ministry yesterday placed hospitals, health centers and first-aid services on a high state of readiness following forecasts of an intense heat wave next week. According to an urgent «dangerous weather conditions» forecast issued by the National Meteorological Service yesterday, the temperature is expected to exceed 38 degrees Celsius (132F) between Monday and Wednesday. Until then, the heat is not expected to exceed 38 degrees. The Health Ministry urged Greeks to stay out of the sun and avoid heavy outdoor work during the heat wave, advised a high liquid intake coupled with the avoidance of alcoholic drinks, and the use of hats and frequent showers. The ministry also said people particularly at risk during a heat wave, such as babies and the elderly, should only take medicine when necessary and following consultation with a doctor. The country experienced an early heat wave at the beginning of May, when temperatures soared over 30 degrees centigrade (106F) just three weeks after severe snowfall wiped out most of northern Greece’s fruit crops.