Volunteers from Edhi Foundation cool off a man with water along the roadside in Karachi on Monday. — AFP

How to protect yourself and your loved ones from the heatwave

Today and tomorrow, the temperature in Karachi is expected to range between 41 and 43 degrees Celsius.
Published May 17, 2021

With the mercury in Karachi touching 43 degrees Celsius on Monday and the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) forecasting the very hot and dry weather conditions to continue till tomorrow, here are some steps you can take to protect yourselves and your loved ones from the searing heat.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), those living in urban areas are more prone to being affected by heatwaves as urban centres tend to become heat islands.

Exposure to heat causes severe symptoms, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke — a condition which causes faintness, as well as dry, warm skin, due to the inability of the body to control high temperatures, according to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) website.

Besides this, heatwaves can also cause severe dehydration and blood clots, the global health body said.

Precautions to take

Making some small changes and taking precautions like avoiding heavy meals and strenuous activity during the hottest hours can help the body better handle the high temperatures.

Some of the precautions include:

  • Staying indoors and avoiding exposure to the sun and extreme temperature.
  • Staying on the lowest floor of the house.
  • Drinking plenty of water even when not feeling thirsty.
  • Avoiding drinks that include caffeine.
  • Eating light meals and avoiding too much salt.
  • Postponing outdoor sports events.
  • Not leaving children and pets alone inside closed vehicles.
  • Wearing loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-coloured clothes that cover most of the skin.
  • Wearing a scarf or a wide-brimmed hat to protect the face.
  • Avoiding strenuous work and taking frequent breaks when working during the hottest part of the day.
Measures that can be taken to avoid heatstroke. ─ LEAD Pakistan/File
Measures that can be taken to avoid heatstroke. ─ LEAD Pakistan/File

The Met department had earlier issued a heatwave warning for Karachi from May 16 to May 17. On Sunday, sizzling hot and dusty weather caused due to the impact of the cyclonic storm Tauktae forced people to stay indoors.

Vehicular traffic on major arteries remained thin. Many areas were reportedly hit by water shortage owing to an increased demand.

According to the Met department, dusty winds kept blowing throughout the day in the port city.

The maximum and minimum temperature recorded in the evening on Sunday was 42.5 degrees Celsius and 28.5 degrees Celsius, respectively, with 17 per cent humidity. The maximum wind speed recorded was 48km/h.

On Monday (today) and Tuesday, the temperature is expected to range between 41 and 43 degrees Celsius.

In 2015, Karachi experienced the deadliest heatwave Pakistan had seen in over 50 years.

Starting June 19 that year, the coastal city witnessed sweltering heat that continued for more than five days and in its wake left over 1,200 people dead and 40,000 suffering from heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

Precautionary guidelines have been taken from the PDMA-Sindh website.