The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has cautioned about the possibility of a heat wave across the country, with temperatures anticipated to soar 3 to 5 degrees Celsius above average between March and May.
A heatwave is considered fatal to the human body when the temperature becomes too high, as per the IMD. To avoid heat-related illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests several preventative measures.
The criteria for declaring a heatwave differ depending on the Indian region. A heatwave is declared by the IMD when the maximum temperature at a station reaches 40°C or more for the plains and 30°C or more for hilly regions.
It is important to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Here are some do’s and don’ts to stay safe in extreme weather:
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water and fruit juices, to stay hydrated.
- Wear lightweight and light-coloured clothing to keep your body cool.
- Stay in shaded areas or indoors as much as possible, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
- Use air conditioning or fans to keep your living and workspaces cool.
- Take cool showers or baths to reduce your body temperature.
- Eat light, easily digestible foods such as fruits and vegetables.
- Do not consume alcohol or caffeine, as they can cause dehydration.
- Avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight or doing strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day.
- Do not leave children or pets in closed, parked vehicles, as the temperature inside can become dangerously high.
- Avoid eating heavy or spicy foods, which can increase body heat and lead to dehydration.
- Do not ignore signs of heat-related illness, such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, and muscle cramps.
By following these simple do’s and don’ts, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects of extreme heat.
Prevent heat-related illnesses here are some more tips
As temperatures rise during a heatwave, it’s important to take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses. Here are some tips:
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and fluids such as fruit juice, coconut water, and sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks as they can dehydrate you.
- Stay cool: Stay in air-conditioned buildings if possible. If you don’t have access to air conditioning, use fans or take cool showers or baths. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen.
- Stay indoors during peak hours: Avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day, typically between 11 am and 4 pm.
- Take breaks: If you must be outside, take frequent breaks in the shade or a cool area. Don’t overexert yourself and rest often.
- Protect yourself from the sun: Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from sunburn and heat stroke.
- Watch for signs of heat-related illnesses: Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache, muscle cramps, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, move to a cooler place, drink water, and rest.
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