Be cautious about heat-related illness in summer

The hottest period of our country is coming and will bring record day time temperatures.

Heat waves are common in Myanmar during the months of March, April and May, in the daytime as well as at night. People can potentially experience heat stroke when their body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

People are urged to be aware of the health hazards posed by the heat that causes the body to lose water through sweating, along with changes in blood viscosity and salt levels.

Multiple studies have found that heat waves are happening more frequently, while cold spells have declined in urban areas in the last 40 years.
Extreme heat can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and exhaustion, which can result in increased mortality rates. It can also exacerbate existing health conditions.

There is a fine line between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, pale skin, weak pulse and muscle cramps. In this case, it is recommended people get inside and drink water or use a cold compress.

When heat exhaustion gets worse, people may experience an extreme headache, strong pulse, and hot skin prior to losing consciousness. This is when heatstroke can shutdown the body.

Heatstroke can be mistaken for heat exhaustion, in which case emergency services should be contacted immediately. Heat stress occurs when the body absorbs more heat than is tolerable.

In southern Asia, mortality is likely to rise with the thermometer. Researchers have established a direct link between global warming and heat-related deaths from killer heat waves. The record mercury level of 47.5 degrees centigrade in Chauk on 8th March, last year, the highest temperature in history, has rang the alarm bell to take precautions against heat waves.

The previous record temperature was 47.2 degrees centigrade in 2010 in Myinmu, a town located in upper Myanmar.
Our country experienced record high temperatures last year, which is alarming, since the temperature has increased year by year without EL Nino and La Nina, due to global warming.

We can not afford to shrug off the hottest period of the year, but people need to ensure that they keep themselves protected as much as possible from the heat during the hottest months by keeping away from direct sunlight and drink plenty of water, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and other high-water-content foods, wear lightweight, light-coloured and loose clothing, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunscreen. But avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks during summer.

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