Keeping Safe in Intense Heat


Summer is here bringing with it the good news of the usual summer vacations. Children as well as some elders will be given days off to face the heat under the shelters of their homes but when given time we devise plans for fun which usually incorporates outdoor activities e.g. children usually make plans to play cricket, some go hiking, some cycle, some gym or a few participate in other physical sports. All of these activities require effort converting energy into heat which results in sweating; this usually helps cool off the body temperature but in humid scenarios under fierce sunlight when one exerts to the extent of tiredness and physical as well as mental exertion the body gets unable to produce heat, this deadly dehydrated phenomenon can cause major heat stroke and can be dangerous, can even cause death.

The human body has an internal temperature of around 37oC, and it does not like it when that very specific figure wobbles in either direction. Changes of as little as a single degree can cause the body’s delicate biochemistry to glitch in unpleasant ways. The prolonged exposure to heat and humidity would have straightforward effects but sometimes the resulting malfunctions can take some odd forms.

• Heat cramps and seizures as the result of the off set of salt in the body
• Heat rash due to blocked sweat pores in skin
• Loss of consciousness
• Confusion and Hallucination
• Nausea or vomit
• Difficulty in breathing and very high body temperature
• Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating

Understanding the symptoms and knowing how to react is critical. Keep a lookout for the symptoms mentioned, you might be able to help save yourself as well as someone, there are a few simple steps that can help:

• Get medical aid. Stay with the effected person until help arrives. In case you realize that you yourself are being affected, take immediate effect, get water and seek shelter.
• Move to a cooler, shaded location.
• Remove clothes as possible (including socks and shoes).
• Apply cool, wet cloth or ice to head, face or neck.
• Spray with cool water.
• Encourage the person to drink water, clear juice, or a sports drink

Ramazan is just around the corner and fasting in this heat while one has to work either outside or in the kitchen is itself a threat. Don’t overexert and neither let your loved ones over exert. Help out in the kitchen and make sure the working area is cool and shaded. In case working outside in the sun is unavoidable, get random breaks to cool down and make sure that you take sufficient water between the timings of iftar and sehar.

Do not treat the subject lightly as many have reportedly died due to heat strokes, in US more people die by heat stroke than they do by natural disasters like floods, earthquakes etc. In Karachi (Pakistan) around 2000 people died due to heat wave in 2015. Every year despite of fair warnings and awareness drives, many still die. Therefore this year please spread the word; gives away free water bottles as a service to humanity and let the travelers rest in the shade or your garages. Don’t let your brothers, any family member or even helpers fetch groceries in day light and always carry a water bottle in the car. Keep hydrated, keep safe!