Public Advisory on Extreme Heat/ Heatwaves: Dos and Don’ts

Stay hydrated:
· Drink sufficient water whenever possible, even if you are not thirsty. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.
· Carry drinking water when traveling.
· Use Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), and consume homemade drinks like lemon water, butter milk/lassi, fruit juices with some added salt.
· Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables with high water content like water melon, musk melon, orange, grapes, pineapple, cucumber, lettuce or other locally available fruits and vegetables.

Stay covered:
· Wear thin loose, cotton garments preferably light coloured
·  Cover your head: use umbrella, hat, cap, towel and other traditional head gears during exposure to direct sunlight
· Wear shoes or chappals while going out in sun

Stay alert:
· Listen to Radio; watch TV; read Newspaper for local weather news. Get the latest update of weather on India Meteorological Department (IMD) website at
· Stay indoors/in shade as much as possible: well-ventilated and cool places
· Block direct sunlight and heat waves: Keep windows and curtains closed during the day, especially on the sunny side of your house. Open them up at night to let cooler air in.
· If going outdoor, limit your outdoor activity to cooler times of the day i.e., morning and evening. Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.

For vulnerable population
Although anyone at any time can suffer from the heat stress & heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others and should be given additional attention.
These include:
• Infants and young children
• People working outdoors
• Pregnant women
• People who have a mental illness
• Physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
• Travelers from colder climate to a hot climate should allow one week’s time for their bodies to acclimatized to heat, avoid overexertion, and should drink plenty of water. Acclimatization is achieved by gradual increase (over 10-15days) in exposure/physical activity in hot environment

Other precautions
• Elderly or sick people living alone should be supervised and their health monitored on a daily basis.
• Keep your home cool, use curtains, shutters or sunshade and open windows at night.
• Try to remain on lower floors during the day.
• Use fan, spray bottles, damp cloths, ice towels to cool down body.
• Immersing feet in 20°C water above ankle provides rapid cooling by reducing dehydration and thermal discomfort.

• Avoid getting out in the sun, especially between 12:00 noon and 03:00 pm.
• Avoid strenuous activities when outside in the afternoon.
•  Do not go out barefoot.
• Avoid cooking during peak summer hours. Open doors and windows to ventilate cooking area adequately.
• Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks or drinks with large amount of sugar- as these actually, lead to loss of more body fluid or may cause stomach cramps.
• Avoid high-protein food and do not eat stale food.
• Do not leave children or pets in parked vehicle. Temperature inside a vehicle could get dangerous.

For Employers and Workers
• Provide cool drinking water at work place and remind them to drink a cup of water every 20 minutes or more frequently to stay hydrated.
• Caution workers to avoid direct sunlight.
• Provide shaded work area for workers. Temporary shelter can be created at work site.
• Schedule strenuous and outdoor jobs to cooler times of the day i.e., morning and evening hours.
• Increase the frequency and length of rest breaks for outdoor activities- at least every 5 minutes after 1 hour of labour work.
• Listen to Radio; watch TV; read Newspaper for local weather news and act accordingly. Get the latest update of weather on India Meteorological Department (IMD) website at
• Assign additional workers or slow down the pace of work.
• Make sure everyone is properly acclimatized: it takes weeks to acclimatize to a hotter climate. Do not work for more than three hours in one day for the first five days of work. Gradually increase the amount and time of work.
• Train workers to recognize factors which may increase the risk of developing a heat related illness and the signs and symptoms of heat stress and start a “buddy system” since people are not likely to notice their own symptoms
• Trained First Aid providers should be available and an emergency response plan should be in place in the event of a heat-related illness.
• Pregnant workers and workers with a medical condition or those taking certain medications should discuss with their physicians about working in the heat.
• If working outdoors wear light-coloured clothing preferably long sleeve shirt and pants, and cover the head to prevent exposure to direct sunlight.
• Install temperature and forecast display at the workplace.

Precautions During Mass gathering/Sport event
• Oudoor/indoor crowded situations increase risk of acute heat-related illnesses (HRI) even in absence of active heatwave alerts in the area.
• Physical exertion, direct sun exposure, overcrowding, and difficult access to water, food and shademay worsen health in vulnerable groups.
• Attendees should stay hydrated, cool, be aware of HRI signs, symptoms and seek medical care.

Issued by:

Directorate of Health & Family Welfare


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