The risk of heat-related illness dramatically increased as the environmental temperature in Dhaka and elsewhere of the country climbed to 40 to 41°C or higher. It`s important – especially during heatwaves – to pay attention to the maximum temperatures reported in your local weather forecasts and to remember that it will be hotter in the sun than in the shade.
If you live in an urban area especially in Dhaka, you may are prone to develop heat exhaustion during the prolonged heatwave, particularly if there are stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. In what is known as the “heat island effect,” asphalt and concrete store heat during the day and only gradually release it at night, resulting in higher night-time temperatures.
Signs and Symptoms of heat exhaustion and Heatstroke
Heavy sweating, headache, and excessive thirst are among the most common symptoms of heat exhaustion. This condition also produces the signs and symptoms of fatigue, clammy skin, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, increased temperature, fainting, muscle cramps,
Other symptoms of heatstroke include dry skin, lack of sweating, throbbing headache, muscle cramps or weakness, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and disorientation. Untreated heat stroke may lead to heart attack and death.
If you have the symptoms of heat exhaustion, go to Physicians to see an experienced healthcare professional. Check with your doctor or healthcare provider to see if your health conditions and medications are likely to affect your ability to cope with extreme heat and humidity.
The best defense is prevention. Here are some prevention tips:
- Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- If you must go outdoors, you can prevent heat exhaustion by wearing lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
- Take additional precautions when exercising or working outdoors.
- Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask your doctor how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
- Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is very high, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
- Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
- Try to rest often in shady areas.
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Infants and children up to age four, and adults over 75 years old, are particularly vulnerable because they adjust to heat more slowly than other people. Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.