UAE: How to avoid heat fatigue when temps are high

In addition to outlining the dangers of excessive sun exposure, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) is working to prevent heat exhaustion when temperatures in the UAE go above 50 degrees Celsius.

Read also: UAE crosses 50°C : Maximum temperature first time in 2023

The "Your safety is our goal" campaign was introduced by MOHAP on Monday in Sharjah. It aims to increase public awareness of the health concerns caused by severe heat and to encourage preventive measures among those in the community who are most exposed to sunshine.

The programme, which is slated to last the entire summer, will include awareness lectures and field trips to building sites, encompassing all societal segments and all nationalities. It aims to encourage proper conduct, improve understanding of the health hazards associated with heat exhaustion, and highlight the significance of keeping a secure workplace.

An accompanying medical team will offer assistance and supplies to the targeted groups at their workplaces, where they will be introduced to the hazards of heat exhaustion, its symptoms, preventive measures, and first aid procedures. This will promote the campaign's objectives.

Additionally, employees will have access to medical examinations such as blood pressure and blood sugar level checks as well as oral and dental health detection tests, as well as awareness leaflets in Arabic, English, and Urdu, personal hygiene kits, and fire safety supplies.

Risks and safety precautions

Dr. Aisam Raoof Mattar, a specialist in internal medicine at Aster Clinic, Tecom Dubai, described the risks of heat exhaustion to Gulf News, saying that "the biggest risk associated with heat exhaustion is that we lose a lot of fluid and electrolytes, which can cause fatigue and lead to a heat stroke."

Muscle spasms and headaches are some of the early signs. "Your throat will become dry, and you may become very hot."

According to Dr. Mattar, patients with chronic diseases would feel more worn out.

Your blood pressure and heart rate may increase if you are taking medication. You should seek medical attention if you feel queasy or disoriented while experiencing these symptoms.

Drinking two to three litres of water each day, together with supplementary electrolytes or juices, is the most crucial preventive step, according to Dr. Mattar, especially if one works outside. Those who perform outdoor work must consume electrolytes, as well as fruit juices or coconut water. Those without access to ingredients can simply make it by combining salt and sugar with water.

He recommended the use of sunscreen and light, brightly coloured clothing, emphasising the necessity to protect skin during the hot summer temperatures. "Carrying an umbrella is also desirable when you walk in the heat," he continued.

What is heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion is an illness that can occur due to exposure to high temperatures. It is usually accompanied by dehydration that results from either water or salt depletion.
Without prompt intervention, heat exhaustion can lead to a heat stroke, which can damage the brain and other vital organs, and even cause death.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion
The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
Muscle cramps
Nausea, diarrhea
Profuse sweating
Rapid heartbeat
Dark-coloured urine
Prevention of heat exhaustion
Drink lots of fluids at regular intervals
Wear loose-fitting clothing and suitable head cover
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
A general recommendation for those doing moderate- to high-intensity exercise is to drink 17 to 20 ounces of fluid two to three hours before exercise and consider adding another eight ounces of water or sports drink right before exercise. Take additional precautions when working or exercising outdoors.
Avoid fluids containing either caffeine or alcohol

serving the community

During the awareness campaign in Sharjah, messages like these will be delivered to residents, particularly those who work outdoors.

The campaign, which is a collaboration between the ministry's Sharjah representative office and the SCFA's Health Promotion Department (HPD), will involve participants from a range of public and private organisations in the emirate.

Mohammed Al Zarouni, director of MoHAP's Representative Office in Sharjah, emphasised the significance of the campaign by saying: "The ministry is devoted to spreading the principles of compassion and goodwill upon which the UAE was formed. In partnership with numerous governmental, commercial, and nonprofit organisations, we will launch the 12th annual heat exhaustion prevention campaign this year in an effort to protect public health and safety by raising awareness of health issues in all spheres, particularly among those whose jobs necessitate prolonged exposure to the sun.

Community service is a common obligation of all public and private organisations, organisations, and people, according to Al Zarouni. Our shared goal is to support healthy behaviours among all members of society and happiness across all societal categories. As a result, we will make every attempt to offer helpful advice, direction, and protective measures.

The director of SCFA's Health Promotion Department, Iman Rashid Saif, expressed her delight at the Department's involvement in the programmes. "We take great pride in being a part of the UAE, a country that values people as its most valuable resource and prioritises the health and safety of society over all other development goals," Saif remarked.

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