This isn't the hottest year in UAE
Man walking under the hot sun during the summer at Al Quoz, Dubai on Monday. 24 June, 2013. KT Photo by Shihab
Dubai - The first time that the UAE experienced 52°C was in June 2010, NCMS figures showed.
UAE forecasters say that unprecedented high temperatures are not being recorded this summer, contrary to popular word on the street.
This year's temperatures, ranging from 45-49°C, are similar to previous summers that the country has witnessed, according to meteorologist Dr Ahmed Habib at the National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS).
Habib added: "Our records showed that these are the average UAE summer temperatures, which reaches its peak in July and August. But residents forget how hot the weather gets and they assume every year is hotter than the one before."
According to Habib, summer already hit its climax last week, when temperatures exceeded 50°C. He said last year's temperatures hit 52°C - the highest maximum temperature recorded by the UAE so far.
The first time that the UAE experienced 52°C was in June 2010, NCMS figures showed.
The heat also triggered rains in some parts of the country recently - particularly in areas of Al Ain and Sharjah. Habib said: "The earth's surface is hot, and with winds and humidity coming from Oman's side, convective clouds develop on the eastern part of the UAE, near the mountains."
He stressed that such conditions are not foreign to us. The highest amount of rainfall recorded was 100.4mm in the south, in August 2013.
Beware of heatstrokes
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, climactic heat causes tens of thousands of deaths each year.
In guidelines published by Dubai Municipality in 2014, statistics for the past 30 years of weather-related fatalities all over the world revealed that deaths from heat-related causes are higher than those in hurricanes and floods. Dr Ali Ziaee, Emergency Physician and Head of Department at Saudi German Hospital Dubai, noted the best way to avoid heatstrokes. "The best treatment for heatstroke is prevention," he said. "While engaged in activity, alternate work with rest cycles, and keep up your fluid intake.
"If you work outdoors in a desert-like environment at 49°C, you must consume 2 litres of water per hour. There must be shelter with shading from the sun available nearby," he added.
Dr Ziaee said heatstrokes are generally classified into two types: classic and exertion. "The main differences is that classic heatstrokes usually occurs in senile patients, while the other is common in athletes, military recruits, and labourers," he said. "The patients are often younger and more active in the latter case. Acute renal failure and marked lactic acidosis are common in this type."
Additionally, heatstroke can be potentially fatal, he warned; in the United States alone, approximately 4,000 people die from heatstrokes every year.
According to Dr Ziaee, Saudi German Hospital received the highest number of 'red, critical' cases of heatstroke among all private healthcare facilities in Dubai. "We faced so many heatstroke cases, mostly among labourers; they could have been life threatening though they all survived," he said.
Dr Jayasankar Mattappillil, Specialist Internal Medicine at Aster Hospital, said: "Heatstroke occurs when the body overheats until it reaches a temperature of 104°F/40°C or higher."
Common symptoms, he informed, include high body temperature, and flushed skin - redness and dry skin due to altered sweating patterns. However, if the heatstroke is caused by strenuous exercise, the warning sign can be moist skin.
Heatstrokes also affect a person's mental state. "Feelings of confusion, agitation, irritability, slurred speech, delirium, seizures and even coma can be signs of a heatstroke, added to nausea, vomiting, rapid and shallow breathing, palpitations from rapid heart rates, and a throbbing headache," stated Dr Mattappillil.
Emphasising its severity, he said, "Unless immediately treated, heatstroke can lead to organ damage and even be fatal."
The best way to prevent heatstrokes is by avoiding prolonged exposure to a hot environment and refraining from outdoor exercises and games. "Avoid thick clothing in hot weather and drink enough water to prevent dehydration; also refrain from alcohol and caffeinated drinks because they increase urine production," he said.