A street vendor prepares a drink customer on a hot afternoon in Bhubaneswar. Image for representational purpose only. File
| Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Summer has just started, but several regions of the country have begun experiencing intense heat. Several towns in the south recorded over 40-degrees Celsius in late March, but other cities in the north of the country are inching towards that mark and further.

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The Indian Meteorological Department has issued a warning that the heat could be “intense”.

This week, the Tamil Nadu health department released an advisory urging people to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water. “This will compensate for the loss of moisture through sweat,” said T.S. Selvavinayagam, director of public health and preventive medicine. Pregnant women, the elderly, people with health conditions, and children on the list of those who should remain indoors have been advised to stay indoors between 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. They have also been told to wear loose-fitting, thin cotton clothes and footwear when stepping out.

To stay hydrated, people should stock up on liquids. The health department has advised people to consume tender coconut water, oral rehydration solution, lemon juice, buttermilk, and fruit juices, but avoid aerated drinks, alcohol, and smoking. To beat the heat, eat seasonal fruits and vegetables and choose home-cooked food, advisories say

Exposure to excessive heat could cause people to faint and lead to confusion and disorientation. People who experience these issues may require immediate medical attention. Dousing yourself with cold water will also reduce the impact of intense heat, the advisory states.

Street vendors, construction workers, those involved in the 100-day employment guarantee schemes, drivers and conductors in the public transport system, home delivery personnel, fire service, and traffic police should all take extra care since their work keeps them out during the day. They have been advised to carry a bottle of water. “People who feel overcome by these symptoms should consume ORS, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. It will help to replenish minerals such as sodium and potassium that the body loses through sweat,” Dr. Selvavinayagam said.

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