Beat The Sun: Here’s How You Can Stay Safe During A Heat Wave

Heat waves have been known to claim more lives than floods, lightning, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

2 min read

The heat wave has already made a deadly entry in India this year, claiming as many as five lives in Maharashtra in the first month of summer alone. The threat is so severe that the state has set up special rooms in government hospitals and medical colleges to treat patients affected by the heat wave.

People are reeling under severe temperatures in at least eight other states. As the summer sun grows hotter, let’s examine what a heat wave really is and what we can do to combat it.

What is a Heat Wave?

According to the Indian Meteorological Department, a heat wave is a prolonged period of hot weather, when the maximum temperatures rise 4.5-6.4 degrees above normal.

Heat wave conditions are a result of trapped air over a certain region for a long period.

A number of states lie in the core heat wave zone. These include Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana .

Some of the common effects of heat wave include severe crop failure, loss of lives due to hyperthermia and acute water shortage. Heat waves have been known to claim more lives than floods, lightning, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

How To Stay Safe During a Heat Wave

Being exposed to severe temperatures puts you at high risk of contracting diseases. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind while combating rising mercury levels:

  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated at all times.
  • Wear loose, light-coloured, comfortable clothes; Opt for light fabrics like cotton.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Cover yourself well before stepping out in the sun; Use sunglasses, caps and umbrellas while travelling in the day.
  • Avoid consuming stale food.
  • Stay indoors during afternoon hours when the sun is at its peak.

The Quint asked general physician Dr Swati Chauhan for some tips on beating the heat. “Most of my patients complain of stomach and urine-related infections during summer,” Dr Chauhan said.

The season is also particularly bad for nosebleeds among kids and adults.
Dr Swati Chauhan, General physician

Be careful to avoid sun strokes, Dr Chauhan advises, adding that infants, the elderly and heart patients must take extra care during the summer months.

It is important for heart patients and the elderly to avoid the sun at all cost. They are advised to keep themselves well-hydrated and stay indoors during the day.

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