Outdoor workers must drink water at least every 20 to 30 minutes, doctors say

Soaring temperatures this summer and a lack of awareness of the damage heat can cause is leading to many heat exhaustion cases each month, one Dubai doctor says.

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A particularly hot summer this year means that labourers must take extra precautions to avoid heat exhaustion, doctors say.

Too much heat can put lives at risk, said Dr Ravi Arora, a specialist in internal medicine, diabetes and endocrinology at NMC Specialty Hospital in Dubai.

“With current temperatures in the summer reaching up to 50°C, health problems are already a challenge for labourers and construction site workers,” he said.

“Exposure to high temperatures leads outdoor employees to severe dehydration and increases the risks of heart stroke. It might also cause kidney stones.”

Dr Arora said that each month he is seeing at least 12 cases of heat exhaustion.

“Imagine the impact on the elderly populations. They can’t stand the current heatwave and extra consideration must be made for elderly workers,” he said.

Dr Arora believes in educating labourers about the effects of exposure to high temperatures and how they can help prevent health problems.

“Raising awareness about heat safety measures and the importance of taking adequate water can have a significant impact on labourers’ health,” said Dr Arora.

He advises those working outdoors to drink water every 20 to 30 minutes.

“Headaches, fatigue, inability to work – all these are very common issues among outdoor workers,” Dr Arora said.

People suffering from heat exhaustion can feel dizzy and run a fever, he added.

“Their exposure to sun for long hours decreases their productivity and efficiency. Many of them will need to take days off because working under the sun will cause dehydration, which will make them feel sick and tired most of the time,” said Dr Arora.

“Education about the impact of hot weather, how it affects their health and safety and how it can be prevented is vitally important.”