Heat Wave 2016– FAQs


After 2015, Karachi must prepare itself to face the heat wave again. As per the meteorological office forecast, the city will witness heavy rainfall from April end to mid May followed by extreme hot weather till June end.

Director General, Met Office, Dr. Ghulam Rasool, informed Media, that the entire country would witness hot weather, and like previous year, Karachi will face a heat wave. He added that the KE has been contacted and advised to manage load shedding in the city during the specific heat wave days.

Even in the next couple of days, the mercury levels are expected to rise, going to 38 degrees on Friday and Saturday and reaching up to 39 degrees, on Sunday in the port city.

Understand Heat wave and its effects in detail.

What is a heat wave?

According to the weather expert, Rachell Oblack, “Heat Waves are a series of days or temperatures that create a safety hazard for anyone exposed to the heat. A heat wave can be an extended period of days with higher than normal temperatures. A heat wave can also be shorter in length, but with abnormally high temperatures.”

What is a heat stroke?

According to Oblack, “heat stroke is a serious heat-related illness that requires immediate medical attention. Death or serious disability can result if symptoms are not brought to the attention of a medical professional. After exposure to extreme heat for extended periods, the body loses its ability to cool down naturally through sweating and evaporative cooling. Think of a thermostat in your house. If it breaks, there is no way to control the temperature of a room.”

What are the symptoms of a heat stroke?

Common symptoms of a heat stroke include dizziness, severe headache, nausea, hot-dry skin without sweat, high pulse rate, high body temperature, unconsciousness fatigue, slurred speech or hallucinations.

How to treat a heat stroke victim?

A heat stroke victim must be taken immediately to a hospital. Call emergency lines immediately. Meanwhile medical help arrives, or the victim is able to reach to the nearest medical facility, assure that the victim has an airway and is breathing; remove the victim’s clothing to encourage heat loss. The victim must be cooled as assertively as possible, placing ice on the armpits, groin and neck area, covered with a sheet soaked with water. DO NOT give the victim of heat stroke anything to drink.

A victim conscious enough to follow commands may be suffering from heat exhaustion.

What is heat exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a serious heat related illness that could lead to heat stroke if left untreated. Your body normally cools itself by sweating. In heat exhaustion water is evaporated off the skin to cool internal body temperatures, causing the blood flow to increase to the skin, which eventually lead to vital organs losing oxygen and nutrients. Heat exhaustion causes an excessive loss of water and essential salts from the body leading to dehydration, leg cramps, fatigue, and a general inability to cool down. As mild form of shock, this can lead to heat stroke if left untreated.

Who is at risk from heat exhaustion?

Virtually anyone can suffer from heat exhaustion in a heat wave period, especially those with heart conditions or strict low-salt diets. Many people who work outdoors can suffer from heat exhaustion after extreme physical exertion or continuous contact with sun.

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?

People respond to heat exhaustion in different ways, but the CDC reports that common symptoms include Heavy sweating, Paleness, Muscle cramps, Tiredness, Weakness, Dizziness, Headache, Nausea or vomiting, Fainting, Skin: may be cool and moist, Pulse rate: fast and weak, Breathing: fast and shallow

How to treat a heat exhaustion victim?

Move the victim to a cooler environment immediately. Shade is better than sun, air conditioning is better than outside – basically, the cooler the better. Remove the victim’s clothing to encourage heat loss. If the victim is conscious and able to follow commands, make him / her drink fluids to rehydrate. If the victim is unable to follow commands, either unconscious or is vomiting take him for proper medical checkup immediately.

Important NOTE: In case anyone around you is suffering from Heat Exhaustion / Heat Stroke, you must make this clear that you are being exposed to the similar heat. Keep yourself safe in this heat wave.