Kozhikode, Trivandrum record high heat index above 54; heatstroke alert issued
According to officials, this is the first time that the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has issued a daily heat index.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With Kerala witnessing record temperatures, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) on Thursday released the daily heat index, which is calculated by combining the effect of temperature and humidity.
On Thursday, five districts, namely Kozhikode, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, and Thiruvananthapuram, registered high on the heat index, prompting the authorities to warn people about the chances of heatstroke.
As per the data from Automatic Weather Stations (AWS), Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram recorded a high heat index above 54, which indicates a serious risk to health and imminent heatstroke.
According to officials, this is the first time that KSDMA has issued a daily heat index.
“The heat index is an indicator that measures how hot it feels. The index goes up with increasing humidity even when the temperature remains the same. Kerala is highly vulnerable as the heat index is high along coastlines,” said an official.
“We calculated the heat index based on the temperature and humidity at 2pm, when the sun’s rays hit directly,” the official with KSDMA added.
Dr T S Anish, assistant professor of community medicine at Manjeri Medical College said a rise in the index will have an adverse impact on people with underlying health issues.
“Drinking a lot of fluids enriched with electrolytes will help protect people from heatstroke. It’s not necessary that a person needs to be out in the sun to get a heatstroke. Those sitting indoors, especially those vulnerable can experience discomfort. A rise in humidity or temperature can also have an indirect impact on people with health issues, including diabetic and heart patients,” he said.
HEAT INDEX RANGES
- Less than 29: No discomfort
- 30-40: Some discomfort
- 40-45: Prolonged exposure and activity may lead to fatigue
- 45-54: Prolonged exposure and activity could lead to heatstroke
- Above 54: Serious risk to health - heatstroke imminent
- High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104F (40 C) or higher
- Altered mental state or behaviour. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
- Head ache, nausea, vomiting
- Skin may turn red as body temperature increases
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart rate.
What to do if you experience discomfort?
- Move indoors or to a cooler area
- Loosen clothing
- Sip water
- Seek medical help if the situation doesn’t improve
How to beat the heat?
- Keep drinking water even if you are not thirsty
- Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee or carbonated drinks during the day
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Use cap or umbrella while going out in the sun
- Educational institutions should ensure clean drinking water for the students
- The most vulnerable population, including elderly people, pregnant ladies, children, differently-abled and those with health issues, should avoid sunlight between 11 am and 3 pm.
- Those delivering food should take adequate precautionary measures
- Avoid leaving animals out in the sun