Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has issued a warning for Islamabad citizens that they can be subjected to heatstroke in the next ten days. Also, Pakistan Meteorological Department has warned that the temperature is expected to touch 40ºC this week in Islamabad and Rawalpindi causing a heatwave in the twin cities.
PIMS has asked Islamabad citizens to take precautionary measures in order to protect themselves against the scorching hot weather. Citizens are warned not to go directly under the sun. Especially children and elderly people should avoid going out while fasting. If a person suffers from a heatstroke, he/she should be immediately taken to a cooler place.
A Gastroenterologist at PIMS Dr. Waseem Khawaja revealed that almost 4,000 cases of heatstroke, diarrhea, and gastro have been reported in the month of Ramadan, so far. Out of these 1500 were children.
The symptoms of heatstroke are a headache, fever, vomiting, dryness of tongue and lips, and, a rise in the body temperature.
The doctor said, “Heatstroke results from failure of the heat-regulating mechanism. It is characterized by a very high body temperature which may rise to 43.3 degrees Celsius and profound disturbances, including convulsions, coma, dry hot skin, the absence of sweating or sometimes excessive sweating.”
Heatstroke can cause the death of an individual if proper precautions are not taken. They including taking proper water, avoiding the sun, putting a wet cloth on the head when facing the sun and wearing light-colored clothing.
Dr. Waseem added, “The outcome can be fatal even if the patient is quickly taken to a medical center or hospital. The treatment includes rapidly cooling the body through an ice water bath till the body temperature falls below 38.9 degrees.”
Dr. Khawaja informed that “It is a general observation that parents leave their children in cars while going for shopping. It is extremely dangerous because the temperature inside the vehicle can suddenly go up leading to the death of the child. Heat cramps are another problem. If a person does heavy muscular work in a high temperature and humidity they will feel pain in the muscles. The cause of heat cramps is the loss of sodium and chloride in the blood.”
Talking about heat syncope the Dr. said, “Another ill effect of heat is heat syncope. The person standing in the sun becomes pale, blood pressure falls and they collapse suddenly. There is no increase in the body temperature. The condition occurs due to a fall in the blood pressure due to pooling of blood in legs as a result of dilation of blood vessels, so less blood goes to the heart and blood pressure falls and less amount of blood goes to the brain.”