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Tuesday June 18, 2024

Brace yourselves Karachiites! 2024’s hottest week looming ahead

Weather expert says heat intensity is expected to rise in Karachi during the next week

By Shawwala Aslam
May 26, 2024
Volunteers giving water to people at a heatwave camp established in Karachi as the city experiences hot and humid weather on May 21, 2024. —APP
Volunteers giving water to people at a heatwave camp established in Karachi as the city experiences hot and humid weather on May 21, 2024. —APP 

Karachiites have been advised to brace themselves as they are expected to experience the hottest week of 2024 amid already steaming scorching weather.

Weather analyst Owais Hyder Sunday forecast that the coming week was likely to be the "hottest week of the year" for the metropolis.

The analyst stated that the “heat intensity could rise the next week in Karachi”, adding that from Tuesday to Thursday, the mercury could hover between 40 and 42°C.

Amid excessive hot weather, people have been advised to stay indoors and hydrated by consuming adequate amount of liquids to avoid heatstroke.

Extreme heat in the metropolis is often coupled by a deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing up to 15 hours a day of loadshedding.

Pakistan is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which scientists have linked to climate change.

The recent heat spell has gripped the metropolis for the past few weeks and it is forecast to prevail till the first week of June.

Heatwave: Here's how you can prevent heat stroke

Authorities at both the federal and provincial levels have taken precautions to protect people from the deadly consequences such as heat-related illnesses as chances of an increase in heat-related issues such as heatstroke are likely to impact the population. Heatstroke is considered the most extreme form of heat-related illness with mortality rates ranging from 10% to 80%.

Heatstroke is defined as a body temperature higher than 40.6°C because of environmental heat exposure following which a person normally collapses.

Studies reveal that heatstroke can be avoided by adopting simple preventive measures, but if there is a delay in treatment, the mortality rate of heatstroke can be as high as 80%.

Early diagnosis and cooling may reduce the mortality rate to 10%.

The National Disaster Management Authority and other provincial authorities have issued a heatwave advisory for the general public asking individuals to take immediate necessary measures.

The advisory stated that infants, elderly persons, athletes and outdoor workers are at high risk for heatstroke.

Symptoms of heatstroke

Generally, the symptoms of heatstroke include profuse sweating or the absence of sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin, weakness, lethargy, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, hallucinations, confusion, dizziness and slurred speech.

If one is having any of the symptoms, they should immediately be taken to the nearest healthcare facility.

How to prevent heatstroke?

Heat- or sun-stroke is a preventable condition and the following are some of the common preventive measures that the advisory has shared:

  • Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity if you can. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4am and 7am.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid getting dehydrated.
  • Limit time in direct sunlight during hot weather or in places with high environmental temperatures.
  • Refrain from vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.
  • Persons working under the sun should prevent dehydration and heatstroke by taking time out of the sun and drinking plenty of water/fluids.
  • Patients should avoid the use of caffeine and sugar-containing soft drinks and/or tea, as it may exacerbate dehydration.
  • Consume salty foods, and use an umbrella.
  • Wear hats, light coloured and loose-fitting clothes during the hot/humid environmental conditions.
  • Keep the body cool and hydrated by taking cool showers or baths during a heatwave.
  • Use cold packs and wraps, towels, sponging, and foot baths to keep cool.
  • If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache during a heatwave, it is best to move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature. Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate.
  • If you have painful muscular spasms, particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, rest immediately in a cool place and drink oral rehydration solutions (ORS) containing electrolytes.
  • Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last for more than one hour.
  • Victims of heatstroke must receive immediate treatment/management.