Many people do not realize how deadly a heat wave can be. In contrast to the visible, destructive, and violent nature of floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, heat waves are “silent killers.” More people die in an average year from heat-related conditions, than from all other weather types combined. A heat wave is a period of excessive heat lasting two days or more. High humidity, which often accompanies heat in the Midwest, can make the effects of heat even more harmful. While heat-related illness and death can occur due to exposure to intense heat in just one afternoon, heat stress on the body has a cumulative effect. Consequently, the longer a heat wave lasts, the greater the threat to public health.  The elderly and persons with disabilities are most vulnerable to the dangers of heat, due to a diminished ability to perspire. Perspiration provides evaporation, which in turn provides cooling, so the elderly have a reduced capacity to release heat from the body.

In addition to the elderly, infants, young children, and people with chronic health problems (especially pre-existing heart disease) or disabilities are more vulnerable to the effects of heat waves. People who are not acclimated to hot weather, overexert themselves, are obese, or use alcohol or drugs are also at greater risk. I just wish the government of Pakistan is going to cooperate with the citizens and specifically the affected people to minimize the causalities and mortality rates.

By: M. Mobin Uddin (Chief Editor)

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