Summer is here. As temperatures rise, a heat wave is sweeping parts of the US and Kuwait just posted some of highest temperatures on the planet, Scientists warn of the onset of a “heat done”, and “urban heat island” effect.
The region is currently experiencing some of the hottest months ever, as Kuwait’s Nawasib city recorded 53.2°C, the hottest temperature worldwide. In the UAE, temperature hovered around 48.2°C at 2pm on Sunday, according to the National Centre of Meteorology.
Experts suggest some basic guidelines on how to stay safe in the summer:
What’s the best time to go out during the summer?
“It would be most sufficient to go out when the sun is not at its peak,” said Dr Osman El Labban, head of Family Medicine Department at Al Zahra Hospital. “I would suggest that the early morning and before the sun sets would be the safest. This means that from 8am to 10am and 5pm to 7pm would be the recommended timing to go out during the day.”
The best summer wear?
“It is important to wear light and loose clothes during the summer, to allow the sweat to evaporate. The clothes should also not be synthetic, cotton would be a good option for the summer because it absorbs the moisture from our body and allows our body to cool down.” Dr El Labban added.
It is important to wear light and loose clothes during the summer, to allow the sweat to evaporate. clothes should also not be synthetic, cotton would be a good option for the summer because it absorbs the moisture from our body and allows our body to cool down.
– Dr Osman El Labban, head of Family Medicine Department at Al Zahra Hospital
Dr Mohammed Aljeaidi, Specialist Family Medicine at Medcare Medical Centre Rashidiya, advises the following:
- Avoid synthetic fabrics, which can trap the heat in.
- Wear a hat or cap.
“In hot seasons, it is always better to wear light, loose fitting clothes made of cotton to help in evaporating sweats and cooling the body,” said Dr Aljeaidi.
IN A NUTSHELL: HOW STAY SAFE IN SUMMER
• Use broad-spectrum sunscreen before going outside.
• Drink 2-3 liters of water daily to keep hydrated and include a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Avoid smoking and aerated drinks.
Dr Sumi Thomas, Specialist Dermatologist , Aster Clinic – Al Muteena
Why is hydration important? What is the right way to do it?
“Our body needs to have enough fluids to function properly and stay healthy. During the summer, we tend to sweat a lot from the heat, which leads to heavy loss of fluids and dehydration. The right way to stay hydrated in the summer is to drink lots of water and healthy fluids throughout the day,” Dr El-Labban said.
Why drink more water in the summer?
“During summer,” Dr Thomas said, “our bodies try to cool down through the natural process of sweating, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue. This makes it essential to drink more water in summer.
How many glasses of water should I drink in a day?
“On an average, a person should drink 2-3 liters of water every day. Water-rich fruit like orange, water melon, papaya and strawberry should be included in the diet during summer. Avoiding excessive consumption of tea, coffee and soft drinks can also help to keep us hydrated,” added Dr Thomas.
“It is crucial to drink sufficient amount of water in hot seasons, to compensate for the continues water loss through our sweats,” said Dr. Mohammed Aljeaidi, Specialist Family Medicine, Medcare Medical Centre Rashidiya. “Severe dehydration can lead to dizziness, fainting, headache, muscle cramps, hypotension, confusion and, finally, falling unconscious. We need to remind ourselves and people around us to drink plenty of water, provide cold water in work sites.”
up to 3L
On an average, a person should drink 2-3 liters of water every day.
“Heat stress” is the net overall heat load to which a person may be exposed from the combined contributions of metabolic heat, environmental factors (i.e., air temperature, humidity, air movement, and radiant heat), and clothing requirements. Metabolic heat is the heat produced by the body through chemical processes, exercise, hormone activity, digestion, etc. In all generall, heat stress can be caused by an environment which can potentially overwhelm the body’s ability to deal with heat.
What role does humidity play in inducing heat stress?
Humidity is the volume of moisture present in the air. People, especially those who work outdoors for long hours, need to be careful about high humidity levels.Usually, dry air helps evaporate our sweat and cools down the body. However, a humidity level of 50 per cent and above is considerably high.
It is crucial to drink sufficient amount of water in hot seasons, to compensate for the continues water loss through our sweats.
– Dr. Mohammed Aljeaidi, Specialist Family Medicine, Medcare Medical Centre Rashidiya
It prevents our sweat from evaporating, trapping heat within our body and overheating it, causing heat stress. Exposure of more than a couple of hours can cause stroke. It is important to take precautions to prevent heat stroke as it can be fatal, especially in older people, pregnant women and young children, said experts.
What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?
Some of the symptoms include:
- Heavy sweating
- Clammy skin
- Nausea and weakness
What is heat stroke?
Dr Sumi Thomas, Specialist Dermatologist , Aster Clinic – Al Muteena, explained: “Heat stroke is caused by body overheating prolonged exposure to sunlight or doing physical activity in high temperature with inadequate intake of water/electrolyte fluid and this condition is common during summer months.”
It is the most serious heat-related illness, according to the CDC. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature — the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When body temperature may rise to 41.1°C (106°F) or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.
What are the symptoms of heat stroke?
- Rising body temperature above 39.4 °C
- Rapid and strong pulse
- Weakness in any part of the body
What are the risks faced by people who are exposed to extreme heat?
Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can cause the following:
- Heat stress or heat exhaustion
- Heat cramps / heat stroke
- It may also exacerbate preexisting chronic conditions — respiratory, cerebral, and cardiovascular diseases.
What’s the immediate treatment for suspected case of heat stroke?
According to Dr. Thomas, the immediate treatment is:
- Lie down and elevate your legs.
- Drink fluids like juice, electrolyte drink.
- Apply cool towel over your body or take a cool bath.
What is the comfortable range of air temperature?
Most people feel comfortable when the air temperature is between 20°C and 27°C and when the relative humidity ranges from 35 to 60%. When air temperature or humidity is higher, people feel uncomfortable.
Do higher temperatures cause harm?
Not necessarily. A relatively high ambient temperature does not cause immediate harm as long as the body can adjust and cope with the additional heat, say experts. However, very hot environments can overwhelm the body’s coping mechanisms leading to a variety of serious — possibly even fatal — conditions, warn experts.
How does the human body react to hot environments?
The healthy human body maintains its internal temperature around 37 °C. Variations, usually of less than 1°C, occur with the time of the day, level of physical activity or emotional state. A change of body temperature of more than 1°C occurs only during illness or when environmental conditions are more than the body’s ability to cope with extreme heat.
Why do people sweat?
As the environment warms-up, the body tends to warm-up as well. Sweating is part of the body’s internal “thermostat” mechanism that keeps a constant inner body temperature by pumping more blood to the skin and by increasing sweat production. In this way, the body increases the rate of heat loss to balance the “heat burden”.
In a very hot environment, the rate of “heat gain” is more than the rate of “heat loss” and the body temperature begins to rise. A rise in the body temperature results in heat-relatedc illnesses. Sweat keeps the body cool as it evaporates from the skin. Heat stroke occurs when sweat can’t evaporate fast enough to cool the body.
During summer, our bodies try to cool down through the natural process of sweating, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue. This makes it essential to drink more water in summer.
– Dr Sumi Thomas, Specialist Dermatologist , Aster Clinic – Al Muteena
“Hyperhidrosis” is the term used to describe excessive sweating. Other known causes of heavy sweating include obesity, thyroid disease and diabetes.
What’s in our sweat?
Studies show sweat contains from 0.1 to 0.5% of sodium chloride. Sodium chloride, commonly called dietary salt, is essential to our body. Scientists estimate that a daily production of sweat of 7.5 litres (under the influence of high temperatures), would mean a loss of approximately 22.5 grams of salt. Since the average normal excretion of salt in the urine is only about 12 grams in 24 hours. Therefore, one necessary is intervention is to restore the normal salt-water ratio as rapidly as possible.
What is thermoregulation?
Thermoregulation is a process that allows the body to maintain its core internal temperature. It’s an internal mechanism by which mammals maintain body temperature with tightly-controlled self-regulation independent of external temperatures.
Thermoregulation is crucial to human life; without thermoregulation, the human body would cease to function. Thermoregulation also plays an adaptive role in the body’s response to infectious pathogens. Temperature regulation is a type of “homeostasis” and a means of preserving a stable internal temperature in order to survive.
Why cover up and wear sunglasses?
Light-weight and long sleeved clothes are preferable in summer. It is important to cover up as much of your skin as possible when spending time outdoors. Sunglasses with good UV protection and wide-brimmed hats can help reduce the harmful effects of sunlight. Apply adequate amount of a broad-spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB radiation), water resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher on all exposed areas of the skin, at least 15-30 minutes before going outside?