Peak summer season happen to be brutal in certain cities in Pakistan, with the temperature going from 30 to even mid-40 degree centigrade in some regions. Not only the weather becomes unbearable but unscheduled power outages and lack of water makes matters worse and adds to the misery of poor Pakistanis.
According to Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the ongoing heatwave is predicted to carry on for at least three to four days. And that’s just only the beginning.
Even though the Director General of Met Office Dr Ghulam Rasool said that this year, the intensity of heat will be less in the month of Ramadan, people still need to remain alert and hydrated.
In regards to the forecast, doctors have appealed to citizens to take all the precautionary measures to avoid the intense heat wave, a natural calamity that claimed the lives of hundreds of people in Karachi and around 1,500 in total all across the country in 2015. It led the authorities to declare an emergency as the electricity grid crashed and as dead bodies stacked up in the morgues.
It is therefore urgent to be prepared for the incoming heatwave. And here’s how you can ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe during it.
Heatwave: What Problems Does It Pose?
There are two main risks posed by a heatwave:
This is a common problem faced by people who don’t drink enough fluids, especially water.
Most of us know that two thirds of our body comprises of water. Given that scenario, the human body needs to remain hydrated adequately in order to function properly.
Dehydration can cause dry mouth, tiredness, dark colored and strong-smelling urine. It also hampers normal functioning of the human body.
Although physical exertion and diet also plays a role towards dehydration, it is the climate that is one of the most essential factors that we need to consider in Pakistan.
Always keep a bottle of water with you no matter wherever you are while you’re away from home or office. If you keep forgetting to drink water then download this application to give you timely reminders. The human body does a good enough job of reminding you though when you’re thirsty, but having a regular interval reminder doesn’t hurt.
2) Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke
Hot climate can cause heat exhaustion where your body becomes too hot and starts to lose water or salt. As a result, you start to experience muscle cramps, a fast pulse rate and even fainting in some cases.
It is important to distinguish heatstroke from heat exhaustion. Both are different. The former occurs when your body is no longer capable of cooling itself and the high temperature becomes increasingly dangerous for your health.
In order to minimise the chances of heat exhaustion, ensure that you remain in a cool place. Trees can offer plentiful shade when you’re outside. Ensure that you’re not exposed to sunlight for too long.
Who Is Likely To Be Affected By the Heatwave?
Heatwave affects everyone differently. It depends on their usual climate, age, diet and physical exertion.
However, here is a list of people who are at most risk from the heat wave:
- Elderly people, usually above the age of 70
- Babies and young children who are physically active,
- People with chronic conditions, especially heart problems,
- People who misuse drugs,
- Physically active people such as laborers and those who play sports,
- Mental health patients,
- People taking certain medications, such as temperature controlling pills.
How Will I Know If Someone Is Affected?
There are a number of symptoms you can look out for which will alert you whether the other person is suffering from heatwave or not:
- Chest pain
- Loss of breath
- Intense thirst
How To Cope With It?
Here are some tried and tested ways of ensuring that the summer heat doesn’t affect your lifestyle negatively.
1) Be Informed and Be Prepared
The easiest way to cope with the problem is to always be informed. Pakistan Meteorological Department always inform when the heatwave is likely to hit Pakistan. Subscribe to their website and regularly watch news in summers.
2) Drink Fluids
Consider this to be the number one rule. It is vital that you drink lots of fluids to offset the intense summer effect. Increased heat results in sweating, which reduces the number of electrolytes from your body.
As we said before, always carry a water bottle on your person if you’re venturing out for longer periods of time. Have lemonade and lots of good ol’ Lassi and milkshakes periodically (consult with your doctor in case of diabetes). Have an adequate supply of cool water in the fridge as well.
3) Stay Covered
First of all, try to stay indoors if it is too hot outside. If you do choose to go outside then cover yourself so the direct sunlight does not hit your skin. The ultraviolet rays can cause extreme damage in summers. Sunscreen has proven to be a very effective method to protect yourself from the sun.
4) Wear Loose Clothes
A study once found out that wearing tight clothes can increase blood pressure in people, event those who aren’t suffering from blood pressure issues. Wearing loose clothes can lessen the irritation of hot weather and ensure optimal blood flow. Ditch your normal clothes and shift to cotton clothing to avoid agitation.
5) Consume Water Rich Food
Summers often reduces one’s appetite due to hot weather. However, adopt the ideology of eating less, yet eating regularly. Eating regularly will allow your body to fight against tiredness, which is one of the factors which leads to heat strokes.
Take light food everyday such as vegetables and fruits, especially cucumbers and watermelons. On the contrary, avoiding foods that are hot and warm is essential as well, such as meat, eggs and other proteins. There’s no need to straight out avoid such foods but depending on your routine and lifestyle, some dietary changes are expected to be in order.
6) Stop Physical Exertion
Maintaining physical fitness is important in life. However in summers, it needs to be carefully monitored. Due to the hot weather, your body is already tired and once you jog, walk or go to gym – it adds to stress, which is unhealthy. The wise choice is to resort to indoor activities such as light cardio, at least until the summer season goes away.
7) Cold Showers Are Essential
Lastly, cold showers can be your best friend in summers. It is one of the quickest ways to cool your body down. You’ll feel much more refreshed.
If you’re short on water – as it is the case in Pakistan in summers – you can get great results by washing your face, your hands and by running them around your neck.
Wet towels and ice packs are also a good way to cool your body down.
Did we miss any important tips to stay cool and hydrated during the summer? Share it with us and your fellow readers in the comments below!