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Digital Issue of August 2017

Watch out for heat stroke

Common precautions to take when heat waves are longer, hotter and more frequent

Summer has always been a time many people look forward to, but climate change is causing more and more threats. Climate change is affecting people’s health, owing to increasingly severe weather. Summers have always been hot, but they’re getting hotter, because climate change will make heat waves longer, hotter and more frequent.

In places where the mercury is soaring high, heat and humidity aren’t merely leading to discomfort – they can, indeed, be downright dangerous, if you don’t take proper precautions.

People with existing respiratory problems, like asthma, and other health conditions are likely to become ill as a result of the heat and pollution. The alarming fact is that even healthy individuals face increased health risks when temperatures climb. The risks are even greater when it’s humid, because humidity decreases the body’s ability to cool itself off through sweating.

Heat-related illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and, the worst of all, heat stroke. Heat cramps are cramps caused by a loss of electrolytes from sweating. Heat exhaustion, which can be a precursor to heat stroke, is the condition where the body’s temperature climbs above 41 degrees Celsius. Heat stroke can be deadly, if symptoms such as delirium, high fever, rapid heartbeat, seizures and unconsciousness manifest, necessitating us to seek immediate medical attention.

The good news, though, is that these conditions can be prevented if you take precautions when temperatures soar, such as drinking more than eight glasses of water a day. The water is essential for maintaining blood circulation throughout the body.  Spending extended time in the hot sun can raise risk of heat-related illnesses, and sunburn can make you feel even hotter and uncomfortable. Limit time outdoors during the peak hours of from 11am to 4pm and make sure you use sunscreen. Seek out cool places if you don’t have air conditioning, such as splash pools and air-conditioned malls. A temporary break from the heat can bring a lot of relief.

(The above is a public-service message from Rubber World Industries, UAE)

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