The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Health challenges as the heat unceasingly sizzles in the region and elsewhere in the world, made worse by climate change, may be defied according to a Consultant in Family Medicine in the UAE.
Dr Fiona Rennie in the UAE for 11 years shared tips on how to do so. She also pointed out that “while residents in hot and humid countries have been able to cope with the sweltering temperatures as their bodies have adjusted to the weather and climate, they may still be harmfully afflicted with heat-related illnesses.”
Currently with the Valiant Clinic in Dubai, Rennie has 26 years of experience as a general practitioner, 11 years of it in the UAE where she also practised Aviation/Diving Medicine. She has extensive educational background in Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics-Gynaecology, as well as Aviation and Diving Medicine in New Zealand and the UK.
Rennie explained to Gulf Today specific precautions as she also enumerated the following:
* Always wear SPF 30+ sunscreen.
* Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, breathable clothing.
* Stay in the shade where possible.
* Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar.
On the other reminders, number one is not going out when the temperature is at 50˚C, even as no one will really dare to be outside at this level of hotness.
Rennie stated: “In a very hot environment, the rate of ‘heat gain’ exceeds the rate of ‘heat loss’ and the body temperature begins to rise. A rise in the body temperature results in heat illness. (In humid places where the humidity) reduces the effectiveness of sweating, making it harder for the body to regulate its temperature, heat-related illness happens when the body cannot cool itself down by sweating.”
The dangerous heat-related conditions suffered at 50 degrees Centigrade are heat exhaustion, confusion, high body temperature, rapid heartbeat, headache, seizures, hot and dry skin, heavy sweating and the deadly heatstroke highly susceptible of which are the medically-chronic patients, pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
“If you have to step out, avoid it three hours before and three hours after solar noon (12 noon).”
She expounded: “Around the noon time period, the ultra-violet rays from the sun are known to be the strongest and so people can easily get burnt. This is also the time when the sun gives us the most direct sunlight. The sun is also known to be the hottest around 3 p.m. as it is closer to us.”
Hydration is a must.
Asked on the volume of water certain age categories should gulp at this time of the year when dehydration may highly happen, Rennie implied that regardless of age, everyone has to drink 1.2 litres of water per day which “needs to go up in hot weather.”
“However, there is no exact estimate by how much. It depends on individuals and the level of heat.”
The normal two litres of water a day for children “may go up during the hot summer months” considering their indulgence to play and other physical activities. The elderly, especially the health and medically-challenged ingesting prescribed drugs, may become more dehydrated and so the advice for over 1.2 litres of water a day.
Rennie highlighted the significance of rest and relaxation which is not limited to relishing the highly-recommended sufficient six to eight hours of sleep per day or night within the confines of one’s comfort zone or personal domain.
“We have to allow our body to recuperate energy levels. We need to sleep up to eight hours per night so we are refreshed and re-energized (the next day).” Circumstances namely age, medical history, and lifestyle determine “proper rest and sleep.”
For her last recommendation, Rennie reverted to heat stroke: “Monitor yourself for symptoms of heat stroke.”
“The human body should maintain the 37 degrees Celsius temperature, the optimal body temperature. The perfect temperature of the surroundings to ensure (this state) is 18 to 24 degrees Celsuis, so the optimum air temperature should be between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius.”
Rennie added that based on several studies, office people remain productive at temperatures between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius, and their productivity levels plummet below or above these temperatures.
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