A NASA study states that humans risk death by long exposure to temperatures similar to the UAE’s current temperatures and humidity. The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) temperature recordings may not be accurate or applicable in terms of residents’ safety.
UAE residents all over social media are posting photos of their car’s thermometer/thermistor recording temperatures of 50+ degrees Celcius. The NCM has refuted these recordings saying that “the temperature readings lack accuracy and are affected by a number of external factors,” as per Gulf News.
However, although it is true that car thermometers/thermistors do not accurately reflect the temperature of the weather, they are accurate in recording the temperature of the car, which we are sitting in and exposed to for long drives.
An official at the NCM also told Gulf News “to measure the temperature in any country, the measuring device should be placed in open air, in the shade, and stand at a height of 175 to 225 centimetres,” who pointed out that “the device should not be exposed to direct sun or even indirect sunlight”.
The above statement is the NCM clearly admitting that their recording of the temperature of the weather in the UAE does not reflect the conditions that many UAE residents are working in. It is rare that residents who are working or travelling outdoors in that UAE are situated in an area with “no access to direct or even indirect sunlight”.
As a UAE resident, if you are travelling inside a car or working outdoors for long hours, know that you are being exposed to temperatures that are practically higher than reported by the NCM, and you should be taking the appropriate health precautions to protect yourself.
As of today, the NCM is reporting temperatures of 39 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity in Dubai. However, in the last week, temperatures “officially” reached up to 48 degrees Celcius.
As per a study done by NASA about the hottest temperature the human body can cope with, being exposed to a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius with a humidity of 75% for only 1 hour has already entered the risk zone of death by Hyperthermia (Heat Stroke).
Hyperthermia is a condition where an individual’s body is exposed to so much heat that is starts failing to regulate itself. High humidity further contributes to this by preventing the body from properly sweating and cooling itself.
The above graph compiled by Live Science using information from NASA also shows that being exposed to longer hours reduces the maximum temperatures you can withstand before risking Hyperthermia. For an 8 hour exposure (which is less than the average labourer’s shift), a temperature of 40 degrees Celcius is sufficient to put us into the risk range.
Considering that NCM’s temperature recordings may be less than the actual temperatures you are being exposed to in your car (compressed gas/ heat absorption) or outdoors (additional heat from sunlight exposure/ lack of cooling), you should be using the above chart to do your due diligence and take the right precautions.
Just last week, a 6-year-old boy was found dead after being forgotten on his school bus for a few hours. In 2010, in only two months (June/July), Four Abu Dhabi residents died from the heat with an average temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. In 2018, on the 1st of August, a man was found dead from the heat with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. These are just a few among many cases of death due to heat-related reasons.
One of the first stages of hyperthermia is heat exhaustion and stress. You may feel weak, dizzy, nauseous and thirsty. Anyone feeling these symptoms, especially in this weather, should be hydrating their bodies. You should be consuming way more quantities of water than you usually do, as water helps regulate body temperature.
Electrolyte-filled fluids are also good, as they help regulate your heart rate, nerve functions and muscles. The best electrolyte drinks are ones that contain potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, chloride, calcium, lysine, lithium and boron. Avoid drinks that contain flavours (glucose/corn syrup), sweeteners and artificial colours.
If you are having symptoms of heat exhaustion such as feeling weak, dizzy or nauseous, and you are not getting better after hydration you should definitely take a break and consult your doctor. If you’re unable to visit the doctor due to work or commitments, or unable to find a nearby doctor, you can use the ArabiaMD: find doctor near me website which helps you directly get in touch with a doctor in the area you specify.
The UAE does not seem to be taking any serious action for safety precautions or preventing death due to heat-related reasons. Whereas in the UK, there is serious action being taken towards indoor heat safety, let alone outdoors.