BEWARE OF HEATSTROKE

Muscat, June 10 – The last few days have seen temperatures soaring, bringing into focus the plight of labourers working outside. Is the heat wave a cause for concern? Definitely, say health experts.
Saleh al Farsi, an environmentalist, said, “Oman has, in the last few days, seen a fluctuation of temperatures, which have reached as high as 50 degrees Celsius in some parts of the Sultanate and other Gulf countries. The fluctuation of temperatures means we are experiencing a real climate change phenomenon.”
He said the rising temperatures are felt by many, including those in the air-conditioned offices, malls and cars, but “what about those working outdoors?”
According to him, everyone should seriously think about people’s lives out there. “It is not as easy as one might think. People working in open areas need to be appreciated not only for the services they offer, but also deserve sympathy.” He also lauded the Ministry of Manpower’s decision to introduce work breaks during summer.

Heat is not a reason for discomfort, but it can lead to health issues. Dr Yusuf al Mullah from the Ministry of Health said: “We need to be aware of ‘heat exhaustion’, in which body temperature rises to as high as 40 degrees Celsius. Some individuals may also experience nausea, vomiting, weakness headache, fainting, sweating, and cold and clammy skin, which are some of the signs of a heatstroke.”
When temperatures are too high, it is important to stay in a cool place. One can even keep ice packs under the armpits or on the head. “Heatstroke can impact vision. If any of these signs are noted, one should dial the emergency number,” said Dr Mullah.
“If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 40 degrees Celsius. Skin might be dry because of lack of sweat,” said Dr Mullah.
“Do not step out when the temperature is at its peak,” he cautioned.
Recalling an incident of heatstroke that proved fatal, he said an expat used to cycle near Qurum beach in summer, but died due to heatstroke.
Sumaira Fatima has offered some tips to handle the summer heat. “Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables.”
Fresh coconut water can replace the electrolytes lost during sweating, she said.
She listed out the summer favourites: watermelon, mandarin, mangoes as well as other fruits. “Have juices of cucumber, carrots and tomatoes. Pomegranate juice is known to fight heat. These not only keep you hydrated, but also provide vitamins. Having yoghurt or laban during meals can ease digestion, preventing acidity,” she said.

Lakshmi Kothaneth