Abu Dhabi, UAE: Soaring temperatures across the nation are leading to an increase of about 40 per cent in reported cases of heat-related illnesses, doctors have warned.
Although the risks, such as dehydration, sunburn ad eventually heat exhaustion, are well-known, people are still failing to take the necessary precautions, they said.
"While some of these illnesses may seem temporary and easily curable, their effects can be particularly harmful in the long-run. For example, getting sunburnt even once can increase the risk of eventually suffering from skin cancer by about 20 per cent," Dr Mazen AlTaher, dermatologist at Al Mazen Medical Centre, told Gulf News.
As Gulf News reported earlier this month, temperatures in the UAE have begun to reach nearly 50 degrees Celsius across Al Ain and other towns in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region. And although the heat is less harsh in coastal cities likes Abu Dhabi and Dubai, humidity levels that hover between 70 to 95 per cent make conditions seem unbearable.
One of the common mistakes occurs among tourists, of whom an increasing number are visiting the UAE each year.
"In their enthusiasm to experience the country, tourists ignore warning signs of heat exhaustion that are clear to residents. They must make sure to dress so that exposure to the sun is minimised, and remember to consume enough fluids and salts," advised Dr Wolfgang Johannson, consultant for internal medicine, cardiology and andrology at Health Plus Clinic.
While increasing fluid intake is a must for those who work outdoors during the day, it could also be a good idea to drink at least half a litre more water than usual during summer, Dr Fawad Khan, family medicine consultant at Al Noor Hospital.
"People should not make the mistake of thinking that swimming or soaking in the water protects them from heat-related illnesses. Often, people are cooled by the water while they are in it, and forget to drink the adequate amount of fluids needed, leading to dehydration," he added.
It is also important to use a water-resistant sunscreen, with at least SPF 25, when swimming under the sun, Dr Khan said.
Residents also tend to stay too long under the summer sun, a practice which can be harmful.
"Even with a powerful sunscreen, people with fair skin can suffer from severe sunburns if they are exposed to the sun at its peak between 10am and 3pm," Dr AlTaher said.
Unfortunately, symptoms of sunburn, including peeling, pain and redness, only tend to appear after about six to 12 hours.
The doctor recommended that people who wish to frequent the beach venture there after 5pm.
© Gulf NewsJun 2014