Readying for another long summer

It’s summer again and everyone wants to remain cool and look for ways to survive the scorching heat. Air-conditioners have already started working round the clock and citizens and residents alike have drawn up their holiday plans to fly off. Hotels have started preparation for a busy long period with attractive summer campaign, which give additional incentives for guests to visit different destinations in the Sultanate.
In Oman, the climate is tropical desert almost everywhere, with some summer rains in both the northern and southern mountain areas, and the clouds brought by the summer monsoon along the eastern coast.
Contrary to the past, today thousands of foreigners come to the Sultanate to get a bit of the seasonal and physical diversity in the country.
Miles of its unspoiled beaches, rolling ocean swells and a canopy of coconut palms is a mere mirage.
For old-time Omanis, beating the heat involved many traditional methods.
“Today summer is treated as an extreme season to be prepared, whether it is in taking care of health or ensuring that the vehicles operate safely”, point out 70-year-old Hameed al Wahaibi.
High summer is the harvest season for dates. Families migrated from the coast, high mountains and desert to shady, water-rich palm groves for the date harvest between June and September.
Talking to the Observer Hameed recollected how commun-ities grew thick with temporary palm-frond houses in the past. Those who did not own a garden could find work at farms.
“Summer was a social time, for business, matchmaking and marriages. During the season, families slept on raised platforms to catch the wind and lived in houses built of mud and loosely woven palm fronds”, he said.
In May, the apricot harvest commences followed by summer fruits like peaches, figs, pears, almonds and apples.
At the same time health experts have already started warning that intense heat during the summer can trigger many diseases.
“While human body generally has resistance power and regulates itself, extremely high temperatures and excessive exposure to ultraviolet light can sometimes be too much for it to handle”, said Dr Vijay Patil, a physician at a hospital here.
Due to temperatures rising above 40 degree Celsius during summer, residents should stay hydrated and sun-protected at all times, he said.
When temperatures rise, the body tries to cool down by increasing blood flow to its surface, the skin. This causes the body to sweat, which as it evaporates, cools the body down.
“People who work under the heat should drink at least two litres of water every couple of hours, take regular breaks, get regular sleep and add a little extra salt to their meals”, he urged.
Safety experts, meanwhile, urged vehicle owners to have their vehicle properly checked during summer.
“Tyres expand at an exponential rate on boiling road surfaces, their pressures increase and, if they’re not in tip-top condition, they are likely to explode”, said an Raveendran an automobile expert.
Automobiles, one thing most of us take for granted, is subject to more abuse in this extreme climate than you could possibly imagine, he said.