Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has warned that citizens of the capital city will be subjected to heatstroke during the next 10 days. PIMS directed Islamabadians to take precautionary measures against heatstroke in order to avoid any detrimental effects from the intense heat.
The warning advised citizens to avoid going under the direct sun, especially children, aged people and those who are fasting. In case the person suffers from a heatstroke, he or she must be taken to a cool and shady place immediately.
Warning and Symptoms
Dr. Waseem Khawaja, a Gastroenterologist at PIMS, told that around 4,000 cases of heatstroke, diarrhea, and gastro have already been reported in Ramadan so far. This figure includes 1,500 children who were also affected by the extreme heat.
The Institute told that the major symptoms of heatstroke include:
- A headache,
- Dryness of tongue and lips, and,
- An increase in the body temperature.
The doctor added;
Heatstroke results from failure of the heat-regulating mechanism. It is characterized by a very high body temperature which may rise to 43.3 degrees Celsius and profound disturbances, including convulsions, coma, dry hot skin, the absence of sweating or sometimes excessive sweating.
Heatstroke can prove fatal as well if proper precautionary measures aren’t taken in time. The excessive body temperature can result in a decrease in blood potassium level, a dangerous situation that affects your heart. It decreases calcium level in the blood, causing bleeding in the process.
Dr. Waseem further said;
The outcome can be fatal even if the patient is quickly taken to a medical center or hospital. The treatment includes rapidly cooling the body through an ice water bath till the body temperature falls below 38.9 degrees.
Precautionary Measures to Symptoms
Some of the precautionary measures for everyone including those who are fasting include;
- Drinking maximum water at Sehr and Iftar times.
- Avoid going under the direct sun.
- Putting a wet cloth on the head under direct sun,
- Wearing light colored dresses as they reflect energy instead of absorbing it.
Dr. Khawaja added;
It is a general observation that parents leave their children in cars while going for shopping. It is extremely dangerous because the temperature inside the vehicle can suddenly go up leading to the death of the child.
Talking about the heat cramps, the doctor mentioned;
Heat cramps are another problem. If a person does heavy muscular work in a high temperature and humidity they will feel pain in the muscles. The cause of heat cramps is the loss of sodium and chloride in the blood.
Another condition known as heat syncope is also observed when the body temperature rises, Dr Khawaja continued;
Another ill effect of heat is heat syncope. The person standing in the sun becomes pale, blood pressure falls and they collapse suddenly. There is no increase in the body temperature. The condition occurs due to a fall in the blood pressure due to pooling of blood in legs as a result of dilation of blood vessels, so less blood goes to the heart and blood pressure falls and less amount of blood goes to the brain.
The doctor added that people working in the sun must drink 1 litre of cool water every hour to maintain their body temperatures. Sedentary workers need a half litre of water every hour as well.