heat wave

HEALTH TIPS: How Nigerians Can Protect Themselves from Heatwave By Maimuna Katuka Aliyu

The sun as we know it is a good source of vitamin for the body. It provides the human body with Vitamin D. Nigeria as we see it is a nation that suffers intense and immense scorching heat that is unbearable, which affects our health in so many ways.

Heat waves are placing an enormous burden on health and social systems, thereby threatening ecological diversity around the world. It is increasing not only in frequency but also in severity and magnitude which is causing the deaths of thousands of people. Heat wave sometimes known as extreme heat, is a period of abnormally hot weather lasting more than two days. They can occur with or without high humidity.

Heat waves has a strong impact on our health which typically involves dehydration, heat cramps, etc. The signs and symptoms are as follows:

Heat Cramps: Ederna (swelling) and Syncope (Fainting) generally accompanied by fever below 39°C i.e.102°F.

Heat Exhaustion: Fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating.

Heat Stoke: Body temperatures of 40°C i.e. 104°F or more along with delirium, seizures or coma. This is a potentially fatal condition.

Extreme heat is linked to low quality sleep, acute kidney injury and complications with pregnancy. It may cause the deterioration of pre-existing cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Health experts warn that exposure to extreme heat increases the risk of death from cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory conditions and all-cause mortality.

Before heat wave comes into your area, you can prepare yourself by doing the following:

Identify cool areas in your neighborhood where you can spend time, like a mall or library.

Cover your windows with curtains and drapes.

Invest in an AC if possible, or look into potential funding to help.

Below are some preventive measures and ways one can recover from heatwaves:

· Move the person to a cool place under the shade.

· Give water or a rehydrating drink (if the person is still conscious).

· Fan the person.

· Consult a doctor if symptoms get worse or are long lasting or the person is unconscious.

· Do not give alcohol, caffeine or aerated drink.

· Cool the person by putting a cool wet cloth on his/her face/body.

· Loosen clothes for better ventilation.

Furthermore, below are some emergency Kits one should always carry around during this weather. They are:

Water bottle

Umbrella/ Hat or Cap /
Head Cover

Hand Towel

Hand Fan

Electrolyte/Glucose/Oral Rehydration

Heat waves can be beaten by following this advice:

Take it easy and don’t overexert yourself.

Only go outside in the morning and evening in the coolest parts of the day

Stay hydrated

When outside seek out shade

Wear loose, lightweight clothing

Take cool showers

While climate change is set to make heat waves worse, there are some solutions to making heat waves more manageable such as:

Local governments can provide access to cooling centers for residents who do not have access to cool spaces. Investing in planting trees in urban areas can help improve shade and decrease the urban heat island effect.

Cool pavements and smart infrastructure can also help increase reflectivity and reduce heat.