How to manage heat waves this summer?
Actually summers are getting increasingly hotter and more people are dying due to heat-related causes. Last year, more than 700 people died in India due to causes related to extreme heat. It was said to be the hottest summer anyone had seen. This year, a caution was issued right in the beginning that the max. temperature during this summer in India will be 1 degree more than last year.
This year the toll started in March itself – 3 people died in Maharashtra though there was no heat wave technically speaking. Nagpur and Hyderabad broke the max. temperature limits of 10 years standing in March and April respectively. May is said to get even more severe.
So what is this heat wave? Any time the temperature of a place goes beyond 45 degrees Celsius, a heat wave is said to have started. If normally the place maintains a max. temperature below 40 degrees, then the normal has to be exceeded by 5-6 degrees. If the place records over 40 degrees normally, then a rise of 4-5 degrees is enough to hit 45 degrees. When the rise is 6 degrees or more, the heat wave is said to be ‘severe’.
Karnataka’s neighbors like Maharashtra, AP & Telangana are traditionally hot in summers and the neighboring parts of North Karnataka also experience hot & dry conditions, which are good for a heat wave to set in. The number of deaths have also been increasing year-on-year and crossed 4600 in 2016, of which more than 4200 deaths were reported from AP & Telangana alone.
People in some regions believe they live quite far away from all this, so they do not have to worry. For people who live in susceptible regions, warnings become so commonplace and the measures to combat heat appear so daunting that they tend to overlook and ignore, leading to disastrous consequences.
Severe temperatures spoil people’s health; they also force people to work less due to the discomfort, as a result of which economy will also be affected. It has been concluded by researchers that anything over 38 degrees Celsius brings down energy levels in people.
When temperature rises slowly our body will also make adjustments to adapt to the new condition. However this can happen only up to a certain level. When that level is crossed, every small increase in temperature appears to be very large and our body finds it tough to accept it. Infants, little children and aged people face this challenge specifically.
Poor people also suffer; that is why the government also comes to their aid. But then heat waves are becoming more frequent and steadily hotter, besides occurring more widely across the world. Excessive heat routinely leads to dehydration, dizziness, headaches, rashes, sun stroke and weakness. Govts. can take measures up to a certain extent but individuals can do a lot more to protect themselves and their children from heat waves.
Some of them are:
- Drink lots of water and fluids
- Wear light clothes that breathe
- Avoid going outdoors during daylight, like 11.00AM to 4.00PM
- Keep your head covered when you are outdoors
These minimum precautions can help us to combat the risks of acute sunlight in summer.