HealthPakistan

Heatwave Alert: How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Punjab and Sindh

As the mercury rises in Pakistan, the threat of heatwaves becomes increasingly real. With temperatures soaring, the risk of heat-related illnesses, including the potentially fatal heat stroke, is on the rise. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to prevent heat stroke and stay safe during a heatwave.

A severe heatwave is expected to hit Punjab and Sindh. The federal and provincial authorities have taken precautions to protect people from the deadly consequences of heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke, the most severe form of heat-related illness, is defined as a body temperature higher than 40.6 degrees Celsius due to environmental heat exposure.

Studies reveal that heat stroke can be avoided by adopting simple preventive measures. However, if there is a delay in treatment, the mortality rate of heat stroke can be as high as 80%. Early diagnosis and cooling may reduce the mortality rate to 10%.

The National Disaster Management Authority and other provincial authorities have issued a heatwave advisory for the general public. The advisory stated that infants, elderly persons, athletes, and outdoor workers are at high risk for heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat stroke include profuse sweating or the absence of sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin, weakness, lethargy, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, hallucinations, confusion, dizziness, and slurred speech. If one is having any of the symptoms, they should immediately be taken to the nearest healthcare facility.

Prevention is better than cure, and heat stroke is a preventable condition. The advisory has shared some common preventive measures:

 

  • Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity if you can. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4am and 7am.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid getting dehydrated.
  • Limit time in direct sunlight during hot weather or in places with high environmental temperatures.
  • Refrain from vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.
  • Persons working under the sun should prevent dehydration and heat stroke by taking time out of the sun and drinking plenty of water/fluids.
  • Patients should avoid the use of caffeine and sugar-containing soft drinks and/or tea, as it may exacerbate dehydration.
  • Consume salty foods, use an umbrella.
  • Wear hats, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothes during the hot/humid environmental conditions.

Preventing heat stroke involves several measures. Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4am and 7am. Stay in the shade. Do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles. Drink plenty of water and avoid getting dehydrated. Limit time in direct sunlight during hot weather or in places with high environmental temperatures. Refrain from vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.

Persons working under the sun should prevent dehydration and heat stroke by taking time out of the sun and drinking plenty of water/fluids. Patients should avoid use of caffeine and sugar-containing soft drinks and/or tea, as it may exacerbate dehydration. Consume salty foods, use an umbrella, wear hats, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes during the hot/humid environmental conditions.

In fine, while the heatwave poses a significant threat, it is possible to stay safe by following these guidelines. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Stay safe, stay hydrated, and take care of each other during these challenging times.

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