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Health Tips for Heat wave conditions

This topic provides health tips to manage during heat wave conditions.

Do’s and Dont’s

Heat Wave conditions can result in physiological strain, which could even result in death. To minimize the impact during the heat wave and to prevent serious ailment or death because of heat stroke, the following measures are useful.

DO’s

  • Listen to Radio, watch TV, read News paper for local weather forecast to know if a heat wave is on the way
  • Drink sufficient water and as often as possible, even if not thirsty
  • Wear lightweight, light - coloured, loose, and porous cotton clothes. Use protective goggles, umbrella/hat, shoes or chappals while going out in sun.
  • While travelling, carry water with you.
  • If you work outside, use a hat or an umbrella and also use a damp cloth on your head, neck, face and limbs.
  • Use ORS, homemade drinks like lassi, torani (rice water), lemon water, buttermilk, etc. which help to re - hydrate the body.
  • Recognize the signs of heat stroke, heat rash or heat cramps such as weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, sweating and seizures. If you feel faint or ill, see a doctor immediately.
  • Keep animals in shade and give them plenty of water to drink.
  • Keep your home cool, use curtains, shutters or sunshade and open windows at night.
  • Use fans, damp clothing and take bath in cold water frequently.
  • Provide cool drinking water near work place.
  • Caution workers to avoid direct sunlight.
  • Schedule strenuous jobs to cooler times of the day.
  • Increase the frequency and length of rest breaks for outdoor activities.
  • Pregnant workers and workers with a medical condition should be given additional attention.

DONT’s

  • Do not leave children or pets in parked vehicles.
  • Avoid going out in the sun, especially between 12.00 noon and 3.00 p.m.
  • Avoid wearing dark, heavy or tight clothing.
  • Avoid strenuous activities when the outside temperature is high. A void working outside between 12 noon and 3 p.m.
  • Avoid cooking during peak hours. Open doors and windows to ventilate cooking area adequately.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks, which dehydrates the body.
  • Avoid high - protein food and do not eat stale food.

Symptoms and First Aid for various Heat Disorders

Heat DisorderSymptomsFirst Aid
Sunburn Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches. Take a shower, using soap, to remove oils that may block pores preventing the body from cooling naturally. If blisters occur, apply dry, sterile dressings and get medical attention.
Heat Cramps Painful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles or extremities. Heavy sweating. Move to cool or shaded place. Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue.
Heat Exhaustion Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale, headache and clammy. Weak pulse. Normal temperature possible. Fainting, vomiting. Get victim to lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloth. Fan or move victim to air - conditioned place. Give sips of water slowly and If nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting occurs, seek immediate medical attention. Or call 108 and 102 for Ambulance
Heat Stroke (Sun Stroke) High body temperature (106+F). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Victim will likely not sweat. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 108 and 102 for Ambulance for emergency medical services or take the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. Move victim to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing. Use fans and/or air conditioners. DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.

Source :NDMA Guidelines for Preparation of Action Plan – Prevention and Management of Heat-Wave

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