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Heat stroke

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Important geophysical phenomenon/Disaster management


Source: IE

 Context: 13 people died due to heatstroke after they attended a large public gathering in the open in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.


Heat stroke
MeaningHeat stroke/sunstroke/hyperthermia is the result of overheating of the body as a result of exposure to high temperatures and humidity.


The combination of high temperature and high humidity → wet bulb temperature → makes heat waves deadly.


High moisture content in the atmosphere makes it difficult for sweat to evaporate and for bodies to cool down.


As a result of which the internal body temperature increases sharply → 41 degree Celsius or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.

ImpactPersons suffering from heat exhaustion/dehydration (which is a milder form of heat-related illness) experience fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, hypotension (low blood pressure) and tachycardia (increased heart rate).



Heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if the person does not receive emergency treatment.

Dos and don’tsStay hydrated, cover yourself well; Use sunglasses, umbrellas or hats; Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks; Carry ORS and homemade drinks; Avoid high-protein food.
NDMA advisory for political gatheringsDuring election campaigning, parties are supposed to ensure that water, ORS packets, medical kits, and mobile ambulances are readily available at all such events.


During voting, electoral officers were advised to ensure that every polling booth had provisions for drinking water, functional clean toilets, facilities for people to sit, some areas under shade, and essential medical kits.


Why did a heat stroke event happen in Maharashtra?

  • Two different observatories recorded 34.1 and 38 degrees Celsius as the maximum temperatures, which is normal during this time of the year.
  • No heat wave warnings – for coastal stations maximum temperature departure is 4.5 degrees Celsius or more than normal – were issued by the IMD.
  • Long exposure to heat in the open ground, physical exertion, elderly patients, and patients with high cholesterol and cardiac illnesses may have had a role to play.


The sharp decline in heat-related deaths in India:

  • Monitoring and management of heatwaves have undergone a big improvement.
  • Almost every vulnerable state now has a heat action plan (early warning, provision of water/ORS at public places and flexible working hours in offices/education institutions) in place.


Challenges ahead:

  • An excessively hot summer is predicted this year because of the end of the strong La Nina phase in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • New forecasts suggest that El Nino is expected to kick in from the May-July period itself → suppressing of monsoon rainfall → exacerbating the effects of a hot summer.
  • Heatwaves are predicted to become more intense, prolonged and frequent because of climate change.


Conclusion: The local administration needs to be vigilant and proactive and the implementation of NDMA advisories needs to be monitored by higher authorities on a daily basis.


Insta Links:

Heat Waves and Climate Change