On the onset of the warmest February this year in 146 years, since 1977, the Centre on Tuesday released a set of guidelines as India gears up to deal with the heat wave this summer.
The Centre has urged states to be well prepared to manage any surge in 'heat-related illnesses'. The government has also directed health departments across the country to implement heat-related health action plans.
“There is an enhanced probability of a heatwave from March to May in many regions of central and northwest India, the Met department said. Above-normal monthly minimum temperatures are most likely during March over most parts of India except south peninsular India, where normal to below normal minimum temperatures are likely," the weather office said in a statement.
The centre has asked states to keep adequate medical and health staff and review the preparedness of facilities, availabilities of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, ice packs and other necessary equipment. The government letter also added that the health facilities have been asked to conduct daily surveillance of heat-related illnesses from Wednesday.
The letter also mentioned that infants and young children, pregnant women, people working outdoors, people having a mental illness, people who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure and people coming from cooler climates to hot climates are vulnerable populations during the heat wave.
Health Ministry's guidelines of dos and don't to be protected against the heat wave
Drink sufficient water whenever possible, even if not thirsty.
Use Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and consume homemade drinks like lemon water, buttermilk/lassi, and fruit juices with some added salt.
Stay indoors in well-ventilated and cool places.
Consume fresh fruits such as watermelon, cucumber, lemon, and orange.
Wear thin, loose, cotton garments, preferably light-coloured ones.
Cover the head using an umbrella, hat, cap, towel and other traditional head gears during exposure to direct sunlight and do not go out barefoot.
Listen to the radio, read the newspaper and watch television for local weather news and also track the IMD's website.
Watch out for symptoms of "heat stress" which include dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, extreme thirst, decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine, and rapid breathing and heartbeat.
Call on 108/102 immediately if you find someone with a high body temperature; and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.
Do not leave children or pets in a parked vehicle. The temperature inside a vehicle could get dangerous.
Block direct sunlight and heat waves: Keep windows and curtains closed during the day, especially on the sunny side of your house. Open them up at night to let cooler air in.
If going outdoors, limit your outdoor activity to cooler times of the day i.e., morning and evenings.
Avoid high-protein food.
Avoid cooking during the peak summer hours.
Avoid stepping out in the sun, especially between 12 noon and 3 pm.
Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee, and carbonated soft drinks or drinks with a large amount of sugar as these, lead to loss of more body fluid or may cause stomach cramps.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)