Protect children from heat strokes, DHA advises parents - GulfToday

Protect children from heat strokes, DHA advises parents

Summer-Dubai

Facing the heat, literally, may be perhaps as bad as its figurative version. Kamal Kassim/ Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

As temperatures start to rise in the country, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) doctors are advising parents to take special care of their children to avoid heat strokes— as a child’s body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult’s body.

Dr Nada Al Mulla, Family Medicine Physician and Head of Nad Al Hammar Primary Health Centre, said that when the weather reaches such high temperatures, infants, children and the elderly are especially prone to heat stroke and exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is defined by symptoms that include thirst, fatigue, headache and twitching. If the case worsens, it can turn into a heat stroke.

Heat stroke symptoms include: throbbing headache, dizziness and light-headedness, lack of sweating , nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, behavioural changes such as confusion and unconsciousness to name a few.

To avoid heat strokes Dr Al Mulla advised Dubai residents (especially children) to avoid doing sports and outdoor activities between 9am to 6pm and wear lightweight and light-coloured clothes.

Parents are also advised to ensure that their children wear sunscreen and drink lots of fluids, and juices.

The doctor also raised awareness against leaving children alone in vehicles as vehicle can heat up quickly. In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20˚C (i.e., if the temperature is 35°C, the inside of a vehicle can heat up to 55°C in 10 minutes).

Opening the windows does not help slow the heating process, added Al Mulla.

Parents may think it’s okay to leave the child in the car for a quick errand or a child might enter a car on their own and become trapped, therefore, parents are advised to never leave their children alone in or around cars not even for a minute.

Other preventive measures include making it a habit to look before locking the car and leaving car keys away from children’s reach and making sure to lock cars at all times.

In addition to children, Dubai residents should avoid the outdoors during the summer especially if they are diabetic, pregnant, suffer from neurological diseases, MS patients and epilepsy patients.

She also advised people to avoid tanning between 10am to 3pm adding that they should wear plenty of sunscreen, drink plenty of fluids, avoid direct sunlight and wear big hats while at the beach.

Recently, the Abu Dhabi Ports unveiled its sixth heat stress campaign titled “Safety in Heat”, offering an open platform to educate employees, port users and the public on the effects of heat-related illnesses, and preventive measures from May 15 to  Sept.16.

A few easy steps have been taken by the authorities to ensure the safety of workers, including scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shade and allowing ample time to rest. The awareness campaign will help identify heat-related illnesses, such as heat rash, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, in addition to simple preventative measures.

“The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” said Mohamed Al Tamimi, VP- Security and HSE, Ports, Abu Dhabi Ports, “Our campaign aims to provide guidance to address heat-related hazards. In tandem, we are also addressing health management during Ramadan, since the fasting month falls during summer this year.”

The primary goal of the campaign is to prevent heat-related effects and achieve “ZERO” Lost Time Incidents (LTI) owing to heat-related illnesses. The awareness sessions conducted during the campaign will educate all workforce levels about exhaustion and the necessary precautions to stay safe at the worksite during the summer. Awareness flyers, brochures and protective equipment will be distributed to all target groups and is expected to reach over 4,000 individuals.

Activities encompass free awareness sessions open to all within the Abu Dhabi Ports premises, heat-related medical advice from the Khalifa Port offshore emergency response team, and monitoring body water level in Ramadan for stevedores in Zayed Port, etc.