Beat the Heat

Muscat: A’Dhahirah region took the brunt of the summer heat on Tuesday with high 40s recorded in most of the region and the desert regions in the Sultanate.

Fahud, however, was expected to top the weather chart with 49 degrees Celsius.  Following closely at 48 degrees have been Ibri and Haima.

Adam, Buraimi and Rustaq recorded a high of 47 degrees followed by Samail, Nizwa and Thumrait with 46 degrees Celsius.

Al Amerat, Dibba, Madha, Suhar, Suwaiq, Bahla, Mudheibi, Ibra, Sur, Mhout and Marmul were all set for 45 degrees Celsius, according to Oman Met Office, Public Authority for Civil Aviation.

Ali who is from Nizwa but on a brief visit to Muscat was enjoying the sea breeze at the Qurum beach when he explained his way of handling the summer heat.  He said, “We move about outdoors until 11.30 am after that we prefer to be indoors and we come outdoors again at 4 to 5.30 pm.  The summer temperature is very different in Nizwa it is high but it is also very dry.  In Muscat as I stand here facing the sea it is a bit humid.  We do not have that in Nizwa.”

The Qurum beach continues to be dotted with fitness enthusiasts by 5 pm and Hina from Lebanon is one of them.  “I work nearby so I come to run at least three to four times.  I have just come back from Lebanon.  It was 29 degrees Celsius there and everyone was complaining about how hot it is there.  Here we are in the high 40s but that is not going to stop me from being outdoors.”

So what are the dangers of high summer temperature?  What about the outdoor workers who spend more number of hours under the sun even though since June 1st the law requires outdoor work to be halted by midday?

The dangerous elements of hot weather are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“Always we need to remember that heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. If it turns into heatstroke it needs to be treated as an emergency,” explained Dr Yusuf Al Mullah, Ministry of Health.

 “The signs of heat exhaustion could be headache, dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite and feeling sick, excessive sweating and turning pale, cramps in the arms, legs and stomach, fast breathing or pulse, the temperature of 38C or above in addition to being very thirsty.  If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion they need to be cool down, it will be ideal to move them to a cool place and get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly. Besides providing plenty of water for them to drink one should not forget to cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good too,” suggested Dr Mullah.

“Finally, any person shows signs and symptoms such as feeling hot and dry, not sweating even though they are feeling too hot, has a temperature that’s risen to 40C or above, or has rapid or shortness of breath, or indicates signs of confusion or even has a fit (seizure) or loses consciousness – implies that the individual has developed heatstroke and this is an emergency directly need to call for help,” warned the doctor.

He also stressed on the importance of keeping an eye on children, the elderly and people with long-term health conditions (like diabetes or heart problems) because they’re more at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.