High temperatures and how they can claim human lives

The body struggles to maintain its core temperature, leading to heatstroke a condition where the body overheats and can no longer cool itself down.

As global temperatures continue to rise, understanding the lethal limits of heat on the human body has become crucial. Scientists and health experts warn that extreme heat can push the body beyond its ability to cope, leading to fatal consequences.

Experts say that a normal human being can succumb to heat when exposed to high temperatures above 40°C (104°F) for extended periods.

The body struggles to maintain its core temperature, leading to heatstroke a condition where the body overheats and can no longer cool itself down.

Dr. Sarah Namukasa, a leading Ugandan health expert clarified, “Heatstroke can occur rapidly, and if the core body temperature reaches 41°C (105.8°F), it becomes a medical emergency. Without immediate intervention, organ failure and death can follow.”

In regions prone to high temperatures, local communities have developed strategies to cope with the heat. Elderly residents of arid areas in Uganda share valuable insights into traditional practices for staying cool.

“We know that staying hydrated and avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours is crucial,” says Elder Juma Kamoga from Kiseka. “Building homes with thick walls and proper ventilation helps keep the indoor temperatures bearable.”

With climate change exacerbating heatwaves, the risks are only growing. Recent studies indicate that heat-related deaths are on the rise, highlighting the need for increased awareness and preventive measures.

Namukasa noted that, “Climate change is making extreme temperatures more common and severe. Communities must adapt and governments need to implement heat action plans to protect vulnerable populations.”

She highlighted some of the Staying Safe: Tips for Coping with Extreme Heat, recommending several steps to stay safe:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol or caffeine.
  • Seek Shade: Limit outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Wear Light Clothing: Loose, light-colored clothes help keep the body cool.
  • Use Fans and Air Conditioning: Utilize cooling devices whenever possible.
  • Know the Signs: Be aware of heatstroke symptoms, such as confusion, dizziness, and lack of sweating.

ICYMI: https://charmarnews.com/climate-change-a-global-challenge-we-must-address/

Case Study

Yesterday AP news agency reported that more than 1,300 people died during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, as the faithful faced extreme high temperatures at the Islamic holy sites in the desert kingdom.

Saudi Health Minister Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel said that 83% of the 1,301 fatalities were unauthorized pilgrims who walked long distances in soaring temperatures to perform the Hajj rituals in and around the holy city of Mecca.

Speaking with the state-owned Al Ekhbariya TV, AP wrote that the minister said 95 pilgrims were being treated in hospitals, some of whom were airlifted for treatment in the capital, Riyadh.

He said the identification process was delayed because there were no identification documents with many of the dead pilgrims.

“The fatalities included more than 660 Egyptians. All but 31 of them were unauthorized pilgrims, according to two officials in Cairo. Egypt has revoked the licenses of 16 travel agencies that helped unauthorized pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia,” authorities said.

As temperatures soar, understanding the deadly impact of extreme heat on the human body is more important than ever.

By combining scientific knowledge with traditional wisdom, individuals and communities can better prepare for and mitigate the dangers of high temperatures. Staying informed and taking proactive measures can save lives in an increasingly warming world.

ALSO READ: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2024/06/23/heat-wave-death-home/74163583007/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20CDC%2C%20hotter,or%20over%2065%20years%20old.

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