7 tips for Karachiites to beat the heat wave

Published: June 23, 2015
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A Muslim man cools down with water at a mosque during a heatwave in Karachi on June 22, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Sindh is witnessing one of the worst heat waves to date, where 350 people have died and the count keeps rising. These are tough times and one feels completely at loss when Mother Nature is so unrelenting.

So here are a few things you can do that could help in preventing further loss of life.

1. Invite house help to temporarily stay at your house

When faced with adversity, it is best to come together and offer whatever help you can. If you live in an area that isn’t receiving the overwhelming amount of load-shedding as other areas are, be kind to your house help and let them stay over at your place till the intense heat wave subsides.

Sleeping under a fan and having access to water could be a God sent gift to the poor.

2. Freeze and distribute bottles of water

While a lot of people are facing severe voltage fluctuations and power outages, there are those who are fortunate enough to either have generators or live in areas where K-Electric is kinder. Please make some space in your freezers for bottles of water and distribute them to the poor when you leave your home.

The number one cause of death in this heat wave has been dehydration; share whatever you can and collectively, we can reduce this number.

Alternatively, The Cakery is accepting donations to buy and distribute bottles of water. Send them some money in a sealed envelope and let this be your form of charity this summer.

3. Buy and distribute packets of ORS

Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is a great tool to prevent dehydration. Packets can easily be purchased at general stores, dissolved in water and consumed. Make sure to buy some for yourself and distribute as many packets as you can to those in need. If you can prepare bottles of it at home and distribute it, that’s even better.

4. Buy some water coolers

It might be worthy to invest in a few good water coolers and give them to your gardener, driver, maid or anybody who you feel could use it. Freeze containers of water and encourage your house help to take a block of ice and water from your home every day. This way, if nothing else, at least their families will have access to cold drinking water.

5. Wear light colours and loose fitting clothing

Stay away from dark colours till the heat wave subsides. Darker shades absorb light and will make you feel warmer. Opt for lighter shades that reflect light and avoid wearing tight clothes.

6. Don’t forget the animals

Animals too are suffering, just as much if not more than humans, since they can’t ask for help. Be kind to birds, cats, dogs – any animal that you feel is in distress. Keep a bowl of water in your garden, outside your house or in your balcony. You could very well be saving the life of a desperate animal in need.

7. Follow this emergency protocol if you suspect a heatstroke

It is important to understand and recognise the signs of a heatstroke; some symptoms include the following:

– Unconsciousness for longer than a few seconds

– Convulsions or seizures

– Signs of moderate to severe difficulty breathing

– Confusion, severe restlessness, or anxiety

– Fast heart rate

– Sweating that may be heavy or may have stopped

– Skin that may be red, hot and dry, even in the armpits

– Severe vomiting and diarrhoea 

If you observe these, observe the following protocol:

– Seek immediate medical attention; call an ambulance or take the incumbent to the hospital yourself

– If you are waiting for an ambulance, move the patient to an area away from direct sunlight

– Remove any unnecessary clothing

– Do whatever you can to cool the patient down; use a fan, damp sheets or an ice pack to cool the patient down

Coming together in times of difficulty can help lessen the crisis if not completely resolve them. I hope that many around the country will open their hearts to ease the difficulty the less fortunate are facing by helping them with these basic gestures. Stay safe Pakistan, and on a parting note, make sure to give way to ambulances on the road no matter what the situation.

Zahra Peer Mohammed

Zahra Peer Mohammed

Former Blogs Desk Head and Senior Sub-Editor at The Express Tribune. She is a business graduate from the Queen's School of Business who tweets @ZahraPeer (twitter.com/ZahraPeer). She blogs at zahrapeer.wordpress.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    its not a natural disaster, but man made. this much loadsheding and shortage of water in this scorching heat was unprecedented.Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath

    You forgot the most important advice. Don’t do Roza if you are not feeling well. Allah will forgive you because he will understand.Recommend

  • Habib Khan

    Precise piece of writing.
    Do’s; easy to be remembered and followed.Recommend

  • प्रियांक ध्यानी

    8. Print and distribute pamphlets saying- DO NOT FAST!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    The title seems a bit trivial for a blog this important. “Tips” is what you offer a housewife to get the stains off her kitchenware. The heat-wave is a deadly menace that needs ‘solutions’ and ‘countermeasures’.

    Having said that, the blog is refreshingly helpful. Except for perhaps #5, it wastes no time with obviously and piddly todkas like, “drink cold faluda” or “take regular showers”.

    I am so happy that you recommended #1. Although it may not be entirely possible for everyone (some domestic workers have fairly large families), it exemplifies the concept of charity beginning at home. #7 is just essential reading and ought to be widely shared.

    I just just you had been a little braver, and advised people who labor out in the sun to avoid fasting. I know it’s a sensitive matter, but at this point one can be forgiven for making the obvious tie between fasting-induced dehydration and heat strokes.Recommend

  • Zahra

    Thanks Faraz.
    I actually didn’t think labourers fast – common sense not to in this weather. Would totally revise my piece to include that point though.
    Take care,
    ZRecommend

  • Dante

    There are several points that understandably make Indians feel butt-hurt. But how is our fasting a problem for you guys?Recommend