People who will be fasting from today have been advised by doctors to take a lot of liquids after they break the fast in the evening and until dawn when fasting begins, to avoid falling victim to heat stress. Ramadan coincides with the peak summer season this year when the fasting hours will at least total 15.
The doctors have also advised to avoid exposure to the Sun even as the emergency unit of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is gearing up to handle heat exhaustion cases during the holy month. Other ailments people normally complain of during Ramadan include common gastroenteritis or stomach flu cases.
“Gastroenteritis cases are common during Ramadan. But this year the weather is very hot and the fasting will be for about 15 hours a day. So there can be an increase in heat exhaustion cases,” Dr Saad Abdulfattah Al Nuaimi, Senior Consultant, Emergency Department at HMC and Senior Instructor in Hamad International Medical Training Centre, told The Peninsula before yesterday.
Heat exhaustion is part of the spectrum of illnesses that include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. “Tiredness, body aches, irritability, disorientation, dizziness, and fainting are the symptoms of heat stress which can lead to seizure attacks called heat strokes that can be fatal,” Dr Al Nuaimi said.
Physical activity in hot weather can overwhelm the body’s ability to cool itself, causing heat related symptoms. The treatment for heat cramps includes recognising the symptoms as muscle pain and tiredness, stopping the activity, and moving in doors, taking plenty of liquid and rest.
“They don’t need to come to the hospital but take proper precautions,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. But medical attention is certainly needed if a person develops symptoms of heat exhaustion, including profuse sweating, weakness, nausea and vomiting, headache, light-headedness, and muscle cramps.
“For these symptoms they should either go to a primary health centre or to the HMC emergency unit,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. However, heat stroke, a form of hyperthermia in which the body temperature rises dramatically, is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated.
The most important measures to prevent heat exhaustions are to avoid becoming dehydrated and to avoid vigorous physical activities in the hot and humid weather.
“People should take plenty of water and liquids during the non fasting hours between Iftar and Suhoor. They must also avoid exposing to hot weather as much as possible,” said Al Nuaimi.
He also advised people who does exercise to avoid it while on fast, out door activities and excessive work outs during Ramadan. Besides, last year the Emergency Department at the HMC received more than 7,700 cases during the first week of Ramadan. A majority of these were fasting related illnesses, which occurred after Iftar.
source: The Peninsula
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