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Why you should worry about the intense heatwave in India

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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Apr 30: India is witnessing blistering heatwave sweeping through vast swathes of the country and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that heatwave to severe heatwave conditions are likely to continue over several part of Northwest India and some part of east.

Why you should worry about the intense heatwave in India

The temperature soared 46-degree Celsius today at a few places in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its Sixth Assessment Report, said that heatwaves and humid heat stress will be more intense and frequent in South Asia this century," the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said in a statement.

The WMO referred to data from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) which said that between 1992 and 2020, there were 25,692 deaths due to heatwaves. 6,973 deaths were reported between 2011 and 2015 and 1,743 deaths between 2016 and 2021.

Furnace-like temperatures

Delhi recorded its second hottest April in 72 years with a monthly average maximum temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius.

The city's normal monthly average temperature in April is 36.30 degrees Celsius.

Rajasthan broiled under severe heat on Friday with Dholpur being the hottest at 46.5 degrees Celsius as the IMD predicted the heatwave will continue for the next three to four days causing a further rise in temperatures.

Long heat wave

A climate change expert says the duration of the severe heat wave is more worrying than the high temperatures.

"The significance of the current Indian/Pakistani heat wave is less about smashing records (though various records have fallen) and more about very long duration. The last 6 weeks have been repeatedly challenging the top of the historical range and baking this part of the world," says Dr. Robert Rohde, the lead scientist at Berkeley Earth.

Health concerns

The IMD said the heatwave could lead to "moderate" health concerns for vulnerable people such as infants, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.

The IMD advised people to avoid heat exposure, wear lightweight and light-coloured cotton clothes and cover the head with a hat or umbrella.

There is an increased likelihood of symptoms of heat illness in people who are either exposed to the sun for a prolonged period or doing heavy work.

How heatwave affects your body

Heatwaves, or heat and hot weather that can last for several days, can have a significant impact on the bodily function.

As the body's temperature increases, blood vessels also open up, leading to lower blood pressure. The effects of lower blood pressure can be felt through dizziness, headache, and nausea.

To beat the heat, the body starts to sweat, leading to the loss of fluids and salt and, crucially, causing dehydration.

Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, confusion, and fainting. If the blood pressure drops too far, it can increase the risk of a heart attack.

The WMO referred to data from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) which said that between 1992 and 2020, there were 25,692 deaths due to heatwaves. 6,973 deaths were reported between 2011 and 2015 and 1,743 deaths between 2016 and 2021.

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