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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National Health Services and Regulations Abdul Qadir Patel has directed all the concerned quarters to ensure coordinated and effective measures to protect people’s lives from diseases. In an advisory on heatwave/ sunstroke issued here on Saturday, the Health Ministry has said that all the national and provincial health-related agencies have been directed to take timely and appropriate measures to prevent issues like heatstroke/ sunstroke.

The minister said that the present government is taking all possible practical steps to improve the health sector and concrete steps are being taken to improve its performance.

According to the advisory, heatstroke is a medical condition that can be fatal if not treated properly in time. Symptoms include hot and dry skin, weakness or lethargy, fever, headache, and rapid heartbeat.

If heat stroke is not treated properly in time, it can cause death or damage to organs or disability. Infants and over-65s, the patients with diabetes and high blood pressure, athletes and outdoor workers are at a higher risk of heatstroke.

The advisory also emphasizes the following precautionary measures: (i) Drink more water in hot weather (ii) Avoid going directly into the sunlight in hot humid weather or in high-temperature places, (iii) Cover head with a hat in hot weather and wear light-coloured loose clothes, and (iv) People working directly in sunlight should consume plenty of water/ liquids.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the recent wave of high environmental temperature in different parts of the country, the National Institute of Health (NIH) also issued an advisory on the direction of the federal minister for national health Abdul Qadir Patel to take necessary measures for educational institutes.

The objective of this advisory is to sensitize relevant educational institutes to take in time appropriate actions for preparedness, response and prevention to the events/ incidents of heatstroke in their respective areas.

The advisory provides recommendations for educational institutions/ schools on actions to mitigate the effect of extreme heat on students to reduce the frequency of heat-related illness and to support schools to prepare for and manage risks associated with extreme hot weather/ heatwave. Children and young people are more susceptible to heat stress and therefore schools must have measures in place to prepare for and manage the risks associated with extreme hot weather.

Advisory emphasizes the following actions that schools can take to help protect students from heat-related illness: (i) Physically separating students from heat by keeping them in a cooled indoor environment is the most effective way of preventing heat-associated illness, utilizing the indoor space for activities during extreme heat is an ideal way to protect students, (ii) Use artificial shading (canopies, tents, sails, umbrellas) to shade outdoor play spaces. (iii) Avoid materials and surfaces that radiate high amounts of thermal heat. Use natural surfaces as much as possible (where allowed) and if a surface has to be used for the safety of children, make sure it is shaded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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