Call for protective measures to beat heatwave

Experts advise people to drink plenty of water, juices to prevent dehydration

APP May 25, 2024
People drink chilled sugarcane juice along a street in Karachi to avoid heat exhaustion on a hot summer day. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Health experts on Thursday advised the residents to adopt preventive measures to avoid the potential threat of prevailing heatwave as the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had issued a warning of rising temperatures till May 27.

District Health Authority’s District Superintendent Vaccination, Dr Muhammad Nadeem, stressed community awareness to avoid health complications in such life-threatening weather. The prolonged periods of extreme heat could lead to various health-related issues which needed proactive care, he said and warned the public regarding the risks posed by heat waves to the brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, eyesight and others.

Dr Nadeem advised the people to drink plenty of water, juices and lemon water to prevent dehydration. He advised the residents to limit their outdoor activities, especially from 11 am to 5 pm and wear loose light-coloured clothing to reduce heat captivation.

Dr Wajid Ali Khan, Chief of Medical Services at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital emphasised the importance of protecting eyes during these challenging times. He said, “National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) had forecasted that Pakistan would face three heat wave spells in May and June while the third spell is anticipated to be particularly intense, lasting anywhere from three to five days.”

“These heat waves will bring many problems, including adverse effects on the eyes of the public while one of the most common eye problems during the summer is eye dryness, especially in environments with low humidity. Air conditioners and using contact lenses could both exacerbate this condition,” he added.

“Symptoms often include eye redness, a feeling of heaviness, a gritty feeling in the eyes, or even sensitivity to light,” he said. “Moreover, individuals who spend extended periods outdoors without adequate sun protection may be at risk of developing pterygium,” he added.

“Protecting one’s eyes from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial to averting this eye condition,” he added. Dr Wajid said eye infections could result in permanent visual impairment or blindness. “Those who use contact lenses are especially vulnerable and should, under no circumstances, bathe wearing these lenses.”

He advised the public to wear appropriate sunglasses for different outdoor activities, adding, lubricating eye drops and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water could significantly contribute to maintaining healthy eyes during summer.

Meanwhile, the district administration had launched an anti-heatwave awareness campaign to reduce the effects of heatstroke and placed water coolers on the busiest roads of the city including Murree Road, bus terminals, and other public places to provide maximum facilities to the people engaged in outdoor activities.

Deputy Commissioner Hassan Waqar Cheema directed the relevant authorities to take all possible steps to ensure preparedness and safety in light of the anticipated heat wave in Rawalpindi district.

Tents were installed in different areas of the city to facilitate the citizens besides ensuring the availability of fans and cold drinking water while heat stroke camps were set up at bus stands, Suzuki stops, Nawaz Sharif Park on Main Murree Road, Kutchery Chowk, Raja Bazar, Saddar and other public areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2024.


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