HMC cautions about heat-related illnesses during Ramadan
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) urges citizens and residents to be aware of heat-related illnesses such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and others especially those who will be fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Mild to moderate dehydration can normally be reversed by drinking more fluids, however, severe cases of dehydration and heat-related illness are medical emergencies and require immediate treatment.
Dr. Muayad Kassim Khalid, Senior Consultant at HMC said, “While thirst and exhaustion can be expected as a result of fasting during Ramadan, particularly when the Holy Month falls during hot months, these conditions can become worse and lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke.”
The first signs of heat-related illness typically include skin redness and warmth, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, muscle cramps, difficulty breathing, and a racing heart rate.
If it is left untreated, heat cramps or heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is the most serious heat-related illness and can be fatal, commented Dr. Khalid.
“During Ramadan, people abstain from drinking and eating for a long period of time and dehydration can occur. However, the risk of dehydration is heightened when you add factors that can increase water loss, such as exposure to hot weather and excessive sweating.
Prolonged exposure to a hot environment and increased physical activity can then cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion and if those conditions continue, this can lead to heatstroke.
People with heat exhaustion will often not realize the severity of their condition and may just complain of discomfort and uneasiness.
They may experience excessive sweating, a throbbing headache, and dizziness – all of which are a result of the body’s temperature rising rapidly and the sweating mechanism failing. Essentially, the body loses its ability to cool down. Heatstroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency medical treatment is not received,” added Dr. Khalid.
Individuals with chronic illnesses including diabetes and kidney diseases, those over the age of 65, patients with heart disease, and those taking multiple medications such as diuretics, which increase the production of urine are most at risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses during Ramadan.
Individuals who work outdoors in the daytime or in very warm or less-ventilated environments such as factories, kitchens, or bakeries, are also more susceptible to dehydration.
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Source: HMC Qatar