Heat wave in India: Useful tips and safety guidelines

With the temperatures recording significantly above normal in the first three months of 2016 across India, the country is reeling under intense heat wave claiming over hundred of lives.The most affected being the southern state of Telangana, followed by Odisha. And the situation could get worse in the upcoming days. The Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) has also preicted that 2016 would be harsher than 2015, the hottest year ever recorded.

The health impacts of heat wave can be dangerous as it leads to dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe and healthy from the harsh summer sun:

Avoid going out in the sun or strenuous activities, particulry between 11am and 3pm, which is the hottest part of the day.

Use protective goggles, umbrella/hat, shoes or chappals while going out in sun.

Drink plenty of water, even if not thirsty. Other fluids such as ORS, lassi, lemon water, buttermilk, etc. help re-hydrate the body.

Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol as they dehydrate the body.

Eat small meals while avoiding high-protein food.

Always carry water while travelling.

Take cool showers or baths, especially before bed s this helps cool the body temperature.

Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose, and porous cotton clothes.

Keep your rooms cool by using shades or curtains, open windows at night.

If you have a medical condition, make sure that you ask your doctor for advice about what to do during a heatwave.

Seek medical help if symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps persist and don’t go away.

Stay tuned to local weather forecast on TV, radio or on the Met official website.

A heat wave is a very hot weather, often accompanied by high humidity. As per National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), heat waves should be declared when actual maximum temperature remains 45*C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature.

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