Beware:  heatwave can kill

Beware: heatwave can kill

Apr 1, 2024, 2:49 AM
Diego S. Cagahastian

Diego S. Cagahastian


THE Asian region is sweltering, and people are dying from the heatwave that is sweeping this part of the globe. Heat indices hovering between 40 to 50 degrees Centigrade are being felt in countries near the equator, such as India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, eastern part of China, and the Philippines.

Several people have died of heat stroke in India. In the Philippines, we have yet to read reports that someone had died, but for sure, many children and elderly are sick and feeling under the weather because of the elevated daytime temperatures.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said temperatures of 42 to 51 degrees Centigrade are already concerning. Heat waves of 52 degrees Centigrade and above are downright dangerous to humans, animals, birds and plants or crops.

Vulnerable people may suffer dizziness, malaise, loss of consciousness and even death due to heat stroke.

In the Philippines, high temperatures of up to 47 degrees Centigrade had been recorded in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and Butuan City. Meanwhile, the heat indices in Laoag City, General Santos City and Tacloban City were notched from 43 to 45 degrees Centigrade.

Heat strokes are most likely to strike at young children age 4 and below because their Central Nervous System is not yet fully developed.

Senior citizens especially those with co-morbidities are also very susceptible to heat stroke, this time because their Central Nervous System is degenerating with age.

It has become incumbent, therefore, for older children and young adults to become knowledgeable on the symptoms of heat stroke so that they can respond quickly and effectively whenever there is a need to help a victim.

Among the tell-tale signs of heat stroke are high body temperature, redness of the facial area, slurred speech, difficulty in breathing, muscle cramps and general weakness of the body.

Among the first-aid remedies recommended by experts is moving the patient indoors or under the shade; let the patient lie down with the legs higher than the body and give the patient plenty of cold water to drink, plus a cold compress.

It would be best, of course, to limit the time spent outdoors, especially now that the heat wave is at its most intense. Avoid drinking tea, coffee, softdrinks and alcoholic drinks.

Wearing loose and light-colored clothes will also help. One should also refrain from vigorous sports or exercise under the sun, use sunscreen, and schedule one's heavy work in the morning or late afternoon when the weather outside is cooler.

Let us remember that extreme heat can damage our vital organs such as the heart, kidney, lungs, etc. and may even be a cause of death.

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