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Doctors Advise Precautions Amid Sweltering Temperatures

SRINAGAR: As temperatures soared across Jammu and Kashmir in the last few weeks, health officials have advised people to take precautions and stay hydrated.

Health officials advised drinking plenty of water and avoiding aerated drinks to combat the heat.

Dr Mohammad Salim Khan, Head Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, said there are unprecedented high temperatures. He provided basic safety tips, recommending consuming plenty of water, electrolytes (ORS), lassi, lemonades and homemade fresh juices. The doctor advised against aerated drinks, juice packs, excessive tea and coffee.

It is essential to stay indoors during peak heat hours unless absolutely necessary, and to consume 1-3 litres more water/fluids than usual, depending on indoor or outdoor activities,” he said. “People should avoid direct sun exposure, especially between noon and 3:00 pm. There is a risk of getting heat strokes, dehydration, and delirium,” he said.

Dr Khan suggested preferring ORS solutions, lassi, chaach (buttermilk), and soups to compensate for water and mineral losses. Tea, coffee, and carbonated drinks should be avoided as they increase urination. Sugary drinks and juices should be avoided due to increased caloric intake, he added.

The doctor recommended wearing light-coloured, loose clothing instead of dark, tight clothes, using scarves, caps or umbrellas to cover the body and applying sunscreen to prevent UV ray damage and skin tanning.

Dr Khan advised against undertaking tiring activities outside in the afternoon and allowing children to participate in sports activities to avoid complications.

According to the doctor, the elderly, young children, pregnant women, those with pre-existing medical conditions, and outdoor workers are at higher risk of complications due to the heatwave.

“They should immediately be moved to cooler locations, and dressed in minimal clothing. Sponging them with cold water, applying ice packs wrapped in cloth, and transporting them to the closest health facility are the best options,” he said.

Advisor for Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Manzoor, said that rain and heatwaves can give rise to waterborne diseases if drinking water is contaminated or dirty. “Contaminated water can cause many types of diarrheal diseases, including cholera and other serious illnesses, like typhoid and dysentery,” he said.

He advised that people must take filtered and boiled water to remove the bacteria and pathogens that contaminate water to decrease the incidence of waterborne diseases.

Dr Tariq, a general physician, advised that anyone experiencing symptoms such as exhaustion, laziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, mental clouding or disorientation should visit a nearby health facility immediately. “As climate change continues to drive up temperatures, it is essential for everyone to take precautions to stay safe in the heat,” he said.

Doctors also advised limiting physical activities, keeping a check on vulnerable individuals and knowing the signs of heat-related illness. They explained that heatstroke can occur when the body’s temperature regulation system is overwhelmed by high heat and humidity, leading to a rapid rise in body temperature.


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