Twin cities fall silent due to weekend heat wave
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By Ikram Junaidi & Aamir Yasin | 6/5/2017 12:00:00 AM
ISLAMABAD: Temperatures in Islamabad and Rawalpindi hit 45°C and 46°C on Sunday, leading many of the cities` residents to stay off the roads for most of the day.

According to Met Office representative Rashid Bilal, the temperature in Zero Point, Islamabad, hit 45°C by 4pm.

Khayaban-i-Sir Syed resident Sohail Jameel told Dawn that the temperature over the last two days had been unbearable, so he had chosen to stay at home.

`As most people have been fasting, they become dehydrated if they spend even an hour under the sun. On Sunday, I decided to stay home all day and watch the Pakistan-India cricket match,` he added.

Wali Khan, a poultry vendor in Awan Market, said a number of hens had also died because of the heat. `The situation at poultry farms is the same, due to which not only have they started selling underweight hens but the price for a live hen had also dropped from Rs150 to Rs120 per kilogramme,` he said.

But not everyone in the city was displeased with the heat wave over the weekend.

Mohammad Shaukat, who owns a f actory that produces coolers, said despite all his efforts he had not been able to meet the demand for coolers.

`Not only has demand for room coolers increased but the price has as well. I was selling a two-square foot room cooler for Rs4,200 but now the same room cooler is being sold for Rs5,500. I expect there will be high demand as long as it rains,` he said.

Mr Bilal said the Met Of fice and other departments had issued advisories regarding the hotweather. He said according to the forecast, it may rain on Monday night until Tuesday in various parts of the Rawalpindi division and Islamabad.

Residents visit Pims due to dehydration The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has been receiving nearly 700 patients every day with the complaints of dehydration, diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal problems.

Pims media coordinator Dr Waseem Khawaja told Dawn that up to 14 diseases that result from exposure to the heat had been recognised, including heatstroke, heat hyperpyrexia, heat exhaustion, heat syncope and heat cramps.

`Heat stroke results from the failure of the heat regulating mechanism. It is characterised by very high body temperature, which may rise to 110°F or 43.3°C, and profound disturbancesincluding convulsions, coma and dry hot skin.

Sweating is absent, or sometimes excessive.

`Theoutcomeisoftenfatal,evenif thepatient is brought to medical centres or hospitals quickly. Treatment consists of rapidly cooling the body in an ice water bath until the temperature f alls to 38.9°C,` he said.

Dr Khawaja said complications from heat stroke include an increase in the blood potassium level which is dangerous for the heart, a decrease in the blood calcium level and possible bleeding, which requires proper treatment.

`A patient suffering from heat stroke should be kept in bed for several days, until the temperature control becomes stable. Heat hyperpyrexia is also associated with f ailure of the body`s heat regulating system, but without the characteristic symptoms of heat stroke. It means a temperature of above 106°F and may proceed to heat stroke,` he said.

Heat exhaustion is milder than heat stroke and is caused by an imbalance or inadequate replacement of water and salts lost in perspiration due to thermal stress. Dr Khawaja said this usually occurs after a few days of high temperature. Body temper ature may be norm al or moderatelyelevated,butitisuncommon for it to exceed 38.9°C.

`Heat cramps are another problem in high temperature, and are due to heavy, muscular work in high temperature and humidity, causing muscle pain.

The cause of heat cramps is a loss of sodium and chloride in the blood.

He added: `Another ill effect of the heat is heat syncope. A person standing in the sun becomes pale, blood pressure falls and he collapses suddenly.There is no rise in body temperature. The condition occurs due to a f all in blood pressure, due to the pooling of blood in the legs as a result of the dilation of blood vessels. Less blood goes to the heart and brain and blood pressure f alls.

Dr Khawaja said heat-related illnesses can be prevented by precautionary measures, such as the replacement of water.

People working in high temperature and humidity should be encouraged to drink cool water, and those working hard under the sun require a litre of water every hour, while the requirement for sedentary workers is half a litre per hour.

There should be intervals of rest between intense work, and headaches and dizziness are signs that an individual should shift to a cooler environment and receive necessary treatment. He added that people should be even more careful in Ramazan, when water intake stalls during the daytime.He added that people should cover their heads when in direct sunlight, and a large bottle of water is necessary every hour in hot climates. Watermelon and cucumbers can also prevent dehydration.

Dr Khawaja also cautioned againstleaving childrenincars, saying the sudden rise in temperatures in cars can be fatal to children.

In Rawalpindi, the bazaars and roads presented a deserted look with the water shortage being the most common complaint among the citizens.

According to the Met Of fice, a continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country.

A westerly wave is likely to enter the upper parts of the country on Monday evening/ night and continue for two to three days.

It said mainly hot and dry weather was expected in most parts of the country while very hot weather conditions were expected over plain areas of Punjab,KP andupper Sindh during the daytime.

About 100 patients with heatrelated diseases visited Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), Holy Family Hospital and the District Headquarters Hospital Rawalpindi.

Many children admitted to the hospitals had fallen ill after drinking contaminated water, taking unhygienic food or staying out in the sun.

Doctors at the three allied hospitals told this reporter that 50pc of the patients were hit by the heat wave. `Sometimes we have to admit more patients than our capacity. Gastro, typhoid, urinary tract infections and vomiting are the main problems,` said Dr Haider Akhter of the BBH.

He said the central cooling system of the BBH collapsed as there were more patients against the capacity of the hospital. `The building has a central cooling system but when more patients are admitted it develops faults.