x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Workers urged to stay cool as mercury rises

Sharjah health experts say number of heat stroke cases should drop when midday ban comes into effect later this month.

Sharjah Medical Zone officials visit a heatstroke victim at Kuwait Hospital.
Sharjah Medical Zone officials visit a heatstroke victim at Kuwait Hospital.

SHARJAH // Health chiefs are urging the emirate's workers, whether labourers or office workers, to stay cool and safe as the worst of the summer heat approaches.

Officials from Sharjah Medical Zone (SMZ) pushed the safety and awareness message while visiting victims of heatstroke at Kuwait Hospital yesterday as part of the emirate's summer-safety campaign.

The patients, who worked on construction sites or other outdoor jobs, were told of the importance of staying hydrated and avoiding long exposure to the sun.

Mohammed Al Mashgouni, the director of public relations at SMZ, said the annual campaign was not just aimed at labourers.

"Our aim is to take our heat-safety message to as many people as possible this summer," Mr Al Mashgouni said.

Dr Amina Hashim, the director of health awareness at SMZ, warned that those who stayed out in the open in the hottest times of the day were most at risk of becoming ill and should be aware of the symptoms of heatstroke.

They include a rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion, which can lead to unconsciousness.

Most cases of heatstroke are treated quickly and easily, said Maryam bin Dahein, director of public relations at Kuwait Hospital.

"Most cases leave the same day while others are usually discharged the following day," Ms bin Dahein said. "The majority are outdoor workers, especially from construction sites.

"We hope that once the midday-break rule resumes this year the number of cases will come down."

The midday break, enforced by the Ministry of Labour, runs from June 15 to September 15.

It is aimed at protecting outdoor workers from the worst of the summer's heat by ensuring they rest between 12.30pm and 3pm.

The SMZ campaign was welcomed by Tahira Ahmed. Ms Ahmed was visiting Kuwait Hospital with her six-year-old son, who was suffering from dehydration. She said electricity bills in Sharjah were a hindrance.

"My husband wants us to not use the air conditioning during the day because the electricity bills are high," Ms Ahmed said.

"Even when we just use it at night our bill last month was about Dh500 for a one-bedroom apartment.

The campaign has the backing of Sharjah Police. This year, officers will visit building sites and labour camps to hand out leaflets and talk to workers at risk of heat exposure.

Authorities addressed more than 200 workers in the hospital's conference hall on summer safety.

The lecture was in Urdu and English. About 6,000 workers have so far attended these briefings.



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