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Heatwave Survival Kit: Must-Have Items for Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

Mangalore has recorded the highest amount of heat with a temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius as soon as the month of April commenced. Heat waves are a common occurrence in many parts of the world, particularly during the months of summer. They are characterised by prolonged periods of intense heat and humidity, which can have significant impacts on human health and the environment. It is important to understand what causes heat waves and how to prepare for and mitigate their effects.

> What exactly is a heat wave?

A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which is often accompanied by high levels of humidity. It is typically defined as a period of at least three consecutive days with temperatures that are significantly higher than average for the particular region, and that pose a threat to human health. Heat waves are caused by a combination of factors, including high atmospheric pressure, lack of cloud cover, and the presence of hot air masses. They are a serious weather phenomenon that require careful monitoring and preparedness in order to minimise their impact on human health and the environment.

A heat wave can have severe effects on your body

As the summer months approach, so does the possibility of heatwaves, which can pose a serious threat to human health. It is important to be prepared for extreme heat, especially if you live in an area that is prone to heatwaves.  Heat waves can also cause a range of health problems, from dehydration and heat exhaustion to more serious conditions such as heat stroke. 

> What is a heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the body's temperature regulation system fails, causing the body temperature to rise to dangerous levels (usually above 104°F or 40°C). It is a severe form of heat illness and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Symptoms of heat stroke include a high body temperature, hot and dry skin, rapid heartbeat, headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and seizures. If you suspect someone is experiencing a heat stroke, it's essential to call for emergency medical attention immediately and try to cool the person down by moving them to a cool place, removing excess clothing, and applying cold water or ice packs to the skin.

Here’s  what you need in your heat wave survival kit. 

1. Water bottle: One of the most important items to include in your heatwave survival kit is a water bottle. Staying hydrated is crucial during a heatwave, as your body will lose fluids through sweating. You can also consider adding some electrolyte packets to help replace lost nutrients.

Always keep a water bottle handy during a heat wave

2. Sunscreen

Another crucial item to include in your kit is a good sunscreen lotion. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can be dangerous, especially during a heatwave when the sun is more intense. Be sure to apply sunscreen with at least SPF 50 before going outside, and re-apply as needed throughout the day.

3. Cooling Towels

Cooling towels are a great addition to your heatwave survival kit. These towels are made from special fabrics that can provide instant cooling relief when wet. Simply soak the towel in water, squeeze it out, and place it around your neck or on your forehead to help regulate your body temperature.

4. First Aid Kit

It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit handy, but it’s especially important during a heatwave. In addition to basic first aid supplies like bandages and antiseptic, include items like electrolyte tablets and a thermometer to help monitor your body temperature.