Heat wave 2023: The Met department said there was an "enhanced probability" of a heatwave from March to May in many regions of central and northwest India.
The Centre on Tuesday released a set of guidelines as India braces to deal with the heat wave this summer. The country recorded its warmest February this year in 146 years, since 1877, the weather office said. Urging states to be well prepared to manage any surge in "heat related illnesses", the government directed health departments across the country to implement "heat-related health action plans".
There is an "enhanced probability" of a heatwave from March to May in many regions of central and northwest India, the Met department said.
"Above-normal monthly minimum temperatures are most likely during March over most parts of India except south peninsular India, where normal to below normal minimum temperatures are likely," the weather office said in a statement.
The centre asked states to take steps such as ensuring the presence of adequate medical and health staff and reviewing preparedness of facilities, availability of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, ice packs and other necessary equipment.
All health facilities have been asked to conduct daily surveillance of heat-related illnesses from Wednesday, and should record cases and deaths relating to heat, the government letter added.
Here are the Health Ministry’s dos and don'ts for protection against the heat wave:
- Avoid high-protein food.
- Avoid cooking during the peak summer hours.
- Avoid stepping out in the sun especially between 12 noon and 3 pm.
- Drink sufficient water whenever possible, even if not thirsty.
- Use Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and consume homemade drinks like lemon water, butter milk/lassi, fruit juices with some added salt.
- Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee, and carbonated soft drinks or drinks with a large amount of sugar as these, lead to loss of more body fluid or may cause stomach cramps.
- Stay indoors in well-ventilated and cool places.
- Consume fresh fruits such as watermelon, cucumber, lemon, and orange.
- Wear thin, loose, cotton garments, preferably light-coloured ones.
- Cover head using umbrella, hat, cap, towel and other traditional head gears during exposure to direct sunlight and not go out barefoot.
- Listen to the radio, read newspaper and watch television for local weather news and also track the IMD's website.
- Watch out for symptoms of "heat stress" which include dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, extreme thirst, decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine, and rapid breathing and heartbeat.
- Call on 108/102 immediately if you find someone with high body temperature; and is either unconscious, confused, or has stopped sweating.
- Do not leave children or pets in parked vehicle. Temperature inside a vehicle could get dangerous.
- Block direct sunlight and heat waves: Keep windows and curtains closed during the day, especially on the sunny side of your house. Open them up at night to let cooler air in.
- If going outdoors, limit your outdoor activity to cooler times of the day i.e., morning and evening.
- Vulnerable population includes infants and young children, pregnant women, people working outdoors, people having mental illness, people who are physically ill especially with heart disease or high blood pressure and people coming from cooler climate to hot climate.