Over 700 people have died in this intense heatwave Sindh is seeing and the count keeps rising. It’s tough times and one can feel completely at a loss when Mother Nature is so unrelenting, but here are a few things you can do that could help in preventing further loss of life.
1. Invite house help to temporarily stay at your house
When faced with adversity, it is best to come together and offer whatever help you can. If you live in an area that isn’t receiving the overwhelming amount of load-shedding as other areas are, be kind to your house help and let them stay over at your place till the intense heat wave subsides.
Sleeping under a fan and having access to water could be a God sent gift to the poor.
2. Freeze and distribute bottles of water
While a lot of people are facing severe voltage fluctuations and power outages, there are those who are fortunate enough to either have generators or live in areas where K-Electric is kinder. Please make some space in your freezers for bottles of water and distribute them to the poor when you leave your home.
The number one cause of death in this heat wave has been dehydration; share whatever you can and collectively, we can reduce this number.
Alternatively, The Cakery is accepting donations to buy and distribute bottles of water. Send them some money in a sealed envelope and let this be your form of charity this summer.
3. Buy and distribute packets of ORS
Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is a great tool to prevent dehydration. Packets can easily be purchased at general stores, dissolved in water and consumed. Make sure to buy some for yourself and distribute as many packets as you can to those in need. If you can prepare bottles of it at home and distribute it, that’s even better.
4. Buy some water coolers
It might be worthy to invest in a few good water coolers and give them to your gardener, driver, maid or anybody who you feel could use it. Freeze containers of water and encourage your house help to take a block of ice and water from your home every day. This way, if nothing else, at least their families will have access to cold drinking water.
5. Wear light colours and loose fitting clothing
Stay away from dark colours till the heat wave subsides. Darker shades absorb light and will make you feel warmer. Opt for lighter shades that reflect light and avoid wearing tight clothes.
6. Don’t forget the animals
Animals too are suffering, just as much if not more than humans, since they can’t ask for help. Be kind to birds, cats, dogs – any animal that you feel is in distress. Keep a bowl of water in your garden, outside your house or in your balcony. You could very well be saving the life of a desperate animal in need.
7. Follow this emergency protocol if you suspect a heatstroke
It is important to understand and recognise the signs of a heatstroke; some symptoms include the following:
– Unconsciousness for longer than a few seconds
– Convulsions or seizures
– Signs of moderate to severe difficulty breathing
– Confusion, severe restlessness, or anxiety
– Fast heart rate
– Sweating that may be heavy or may have stopped
– Skin that may be red, hot and dry, even in the armpits
– Severe vomiting and diarrhoea
If you observe these, observe the following protocol:
– Seek immediate medical attention; call an ambulance or take the incumbent to the hospital yourself
– If you are waiting for an ambulance, move the patient to an area away from direct sunlight
– Remove any unnecessary clothing
– Do whatever you can to cool the patient down; use a fan, damp sheets or an ice pack to cool the patient down
Coming together in times of difficulty can help lessen the crisis if not completely resolve them. I hope that many around the country will open their hearts to ease the difficulty the less fortunate are facing by helping them with these basic gestures. Stay safe Pakistan, and on a parting note, make sure to give way to ambulances on the road no matter what the situation.