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How to stay safe during rising summer temperatures 

4 Jun 2024 How to stay safe during rising summer temperatures

Muscat – As the sultanate grapples with soaring temperatures, health experts are urging the public to take measures to mitigate severe impacts of the summer heatwave. 

Recognising the dangers posed by the intense heat, the Ministry of Labour has implemented midday break for labourers, effective from June 1 to September 1, between 12:30pm and 3:30pm. This initiative is aimed to shield workers from the worst of the daytime heat, which can lead to severe health issues like increased heart rate, exhaustion and dehydration. 

Health professionals are urging citizens and residents to stay indoors during peak heat hours and to stay hydrated.

Discussing the compounded risks for asthma and diabetes patients in such conditions, specialist internist Dr Vipin Sreekandan Nair, said, “Excessive heat exacerbates health issues, making it crucial to stay hydrated with water and natural drinks like buttermilk and coconut water.” 

Dermatologist Dr Celia Soni Saldanha advised the use of a high-quality, water-resistant sunscreen for protection against UVA and UVB rays. “Applying sunscreen every two hours and wearing protective clothing are essential during these hot months,” she informed.

Additionally, Dr Aneesh Basheer, another specialist internist, pointed out that heat cramps, heat rashes and heat exhaustion are not uncommon during Omani summers. He urged everyone, outdoor workers and athletes in particular, to adhere to safety guidelines, such as staying hydrated and monitoring the colour of their urine to gauge hydration levels.

The impact of the heat on children’s physical and mental well-being has been a matter of concern for parents across the sultanate.  

Praseeda Ranjit, a resident of Oman for 18 years, said, “The extreme heat compels children to be indoors, impacting their health when they do venture outside.”

She also highlighted the broader environmental consequences, pointing to carbon dioxide and CFC emissions that exacerbate the intensity of heatwaves.

Concerned about dehydration and sunstroke during the current heatwave, M Tufail Ahmed, General Manager of Jibreen International Business LLC, said, “People often delay hydration until they feel extremely thirsty. It’s crucial to adapt our habits to better cope with these extreme weather conditions, which are exacerbated by climate change.” 

By staying informed and following the guidance of health authorities, people in Oman can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related health issues and ensure a safer summer.

(Contributed by Sneha Lijoys)

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