Beware of hyperthermia this July, hottest of UAE summer
Exposure to heat could cause illness, doctors have warned.
July will be the hottest month of this summer with temperatures peaking at 45 degrees Celsius and humidity levels rising, according to the National Centre for Meteorology.
Due to high humidity levels, the feeling of temperature (high) increases by between 4-5 degrees, said a weather forecaster while speaking to Khaleej Times.
Temperatures will drop between 2-4 degrees on Friday as the northwesterly winds blow over the Western region of the country.
According to the forecaster, the winds will be rough and cause waves of up to 6-7 feet high in coastal areas on Friday and Saturday.
"Since it is the peak of summer, people are advised to stay away from the sun and if possible, even avoid shades due to high humidity levels," he said.
Heat impact on health
Doctors said exposure to heat could trigger heat illness. "Heat illness is caused when the human body is incapable of maintaining normal body temperature because of excess heat production or decreased heat transfer to the environment," pointed out Dr Vivek Mundada, paediatric neurologist at Medcare Women & Children Hospital.
'Hyperthermia' is a condition where the core body temperature rises above the normal range of 36 to 37.5°C (96.8 to 99.5°F). "When this occurs, a person can have a range of symptoms which can be minor to even life-threatening. Among these, heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness," he said.
Heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature goes above 40 to 40.5°C (104 to 105°F) which can eventually lead to dysfunction of brain and nerves. "In such a condition, a person's skin becomes dry, hot and flushed with fever over 105° F (40.5° C)," said Dr Vivek.
During heat stroke, one can have severe headache, extreme weakness and tiredness, dizziness or confusion, faster breathing and heartbeat, fainting, seizures, little or no sweating.
Heat exhaustion is a less severe condition than heat stroke. In this, the skin appears pale and children usually sweat a lot. The person can also have symptoms like nausea, dizziness, fainting or fatigue. The fever can hover around 100-102° F (37.8 - 39° C) for a short time.
Sweating leads to loss of body fluid and hence these symptoms appear. If untreated, a person can progress from heat exhaustion to heatstroke.
During heat exhaustion, you can experience increased thirst, weakness, tiredness, fainting, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, headache, and increased sweating.
Heat cramps occur with symptoms such as muscle cramps in the legs (calf or thigh muscles) and stomach. There is usually no fever. Drinking plenty of water can relieve the symptoms within a few hours.
How to avoid heat exhaustion:
> Never leave infants and young children unattended in cars. They might get exposed to heat and feel suffocated.
> Heat illness and heat stroke in athletes are also potentially preventable. Emphasis on proper hydration before, during, and after any sport activities in camps and schools is a must. Enough breaks should be taken during such exercise.
> Wearing loose and lightweight clothes in the hot environment are always useful.
If a person has signs of heat exhaustion, he/she should be:
> Moved to a cool place.
> Should be asked to lie down, with legs raised above slightly.
> Given plenty of water to drink in a steady manner.
> Skin must be cooled by spray or sponge soaked in water.
> Cold packs around the armpits or neck are also good to use.
> Any extra clothing should be taken off.
In case there are symptoms of heat stroke, the person should be immediately taken to the nearest emergency department.