Rawalpindi: A severe heatwave has hit the population not only in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi but in most parts of the country that may pose serious health threats to the general public including heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, heat cramps, and sunburn if individuals do not take necessary preventive measures well in time to avoid heat-related problems.
The severe heat spell is expected to prevail in most parts of the country including this region at least for another week and according to health experts, it is time for people to take extra care to avoid heat-related health threats including diarrhea.
Director General Health Services Punjab has already issued a heatwave alert asking all chief executive officers at district health authorities across the province to launch a robust awareness campaign among the public on how to avoid heat-related disorders and to prepare a comprehensive response plan to provide medical cover to individuals not only in healthcare facilities but also at strategic locations like market places, industrial areas, and main roads.
The DG Health Services asked the CEOs to establish facility-based and outreach heatwave response centers and to ensure the availability of essential supplies at all levels including Rescue 1122 ambulances.
It is important that the public and private sector healthcare facilities in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi including the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad and allied hospitals in Rawalpindi have already started receiving a significant number of patients with heat-related health threats.
Studies reveal that heatstroke, heat syncope, and heat exhaustion are life-threatening health hazards particularly in cases of chronic patients, elderly people, and children. Health experts say that people must take preventive measures to avoid these.
Dr. Waqar Ahmed appointed as heatwave focal person at District Health Authority Rawalpindi expressed to ‘The News on Wednesday that so far, no case of heatstroke has been reported at any healthcare facility in the district. It is important that heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency.
Dr. Waqar said the health department has already held a coordination meeting with Rescue 1122 command and control for collaboration in coordinated heatstroke cases response and facilitation while organized workshops followed by awareness walk at major tehsil headquarters hospitals. He said awareness seminars have been clubbed with polio campaign training at all union council levels.
The most important thing at the time is to create awareness among the public on how to avoid health threats, the severe heatwave poses, he said. He added people should avoid going outside, particularly during the hottest hours of the day from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
He said people who have to work in a hot environment or under the sun should take plenty of water and ORS if needed. To avoid a rise in core body temperature, people need to take slight cold water frequently and take bath between working intervals whenever possible. People must avoid heat currents and when going outside during the hottest hours of the day, they should keep a wet towel on their heads to keep body temperature normal, he said.