Day 78 – Q 4. It is estimated that India will experience a strong heat wave during the summer season. What threat does it pose to people? What first aid should be given to a person suffering from a heat stroke?
4. It is estimated that India will experience a strong heat wave during the summer season. What threat does it pose to people? What first aid should be given to a person suffering from a heat stroke?
A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India. Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July.
If the average global temperature rose by more than one degree Celsius from the present, India could “annually” expect conditions like the 2015 heat wave that killed at least 2,000, according to the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C,’ commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing morbidities are particularly vulnerable.
Threat posed by heat waves:
- The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.
- The Lancet Countdown 2018 report sounds a warning that rising temperatures will enable the dengue virus and malaria to spread farther and faster.
- Lancet Countdown 2018 report also mentions that India lost nearly 75 billion hours of labour due to heat waves in 2017.
- The agriculture sector is more vulnerable compared to the industrial and service sectors because workers there are more likely to be exposed to heat. This has worrying implications for rural employment and the well-being of a large section of the population (nearly 49%) that depends on farming.
- Food insecurity due to lowering of productivity due to extreme temperatures.
- It may further intensify the water scarcity and could lead to increased water disputes.
First Aid for heat stroke:
While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, initiate first aid with the aim to lower the body temperature.
- Move the person to an air-conditioned environment or at least a cool, shady area and remove any unnecessary clothing.
- Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose.
- Apply ice packs to the patient’s armpits, groin, neck, and back because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them may reduce body temperature.
- Do not use ice for older patients, young children, patients with chronic illness, or anyone whose heat stroke occurred without vigorous exercise.
Increased exposure to heatwaves needs a policy response, nationally and globally. Long term measures should be taken to address the issue in the wake of global warming and climate change:
- Afforestation drives to increase green cover.
- A further reduction in the share of coal in the energy mix through sustained support for renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaic, must form the cornerstone of national policy
- It is vital that India gets more ambitious about cutting back on carbon emissions, even as
It presses for the fulfillment of the climate finance obligations of developed countries under the Paris Agreement of the UNFCCC.
- This must be matched by a shift away from use of fossil fuels for transport, and the induction of more electric vehicles.
Heat waves are a serious issue affecting the lives of people in a multidimensional manner. Therefore, keeping in mind its growing exposures it needs to be tackled through increased awareness among the people, identification of heat hot spots, and advance implementation of local Heat Action Plans.
Best answer: Saumya Singh