Sunburn: guidelines issued

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: The scientific team appointed by the State government to study the cases of sunburn and drought in Palakkad examining a victim at the Mannur Primary Health Centre on Friday.  

Staff Reporter

Expert team cites peculiar geographic conditions as reason

Thiruvananthapuram: The Health Department has issued specific guidelines to be followed by the public in the case of children after several instances of sunburns, related skin and health problems due to the intense summer heat have been reported from various districts.

The department directed that schools make sure that drinking water is provided in plenty inside all classrooms, especially since it is the exam time. Schools have also been directed to avoid outdoor events like assembly or the drill.

Children should be encouraged to wear caps/hats while going out in the sun and as far as possible, they should be discouraged from playing in the hot sun. Intake of plenty of fluids is necessary for preventing dehydration and as far as possible, wear loose cotton clothes in light shades.

In case children faint after being in the hot sun, they should be shifted to the shade, given plenty of water and prompt medical attention should be sought.

Medical officers at all health care institutions have been asked to be prepared to treat heat strokes and other such emergencies that may arise as summer intensifies, Director of Health Services M.K. Jeevan, said.

Direct exposure

Staff Reporter adds from Palakkad: A scientific team appointed by the State government to study the reported cases of sunburn in some parts of the district has cited “direct exposure to the sun and the peculiar geographic conditions of the area coming under the Palakkad gap” as the reasons for sunburns.''

E.J. Scaria, head of the three-member scientific team of the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), told The Hindu that the team had visited the areas and spoken to the victims. Preliminary studies had found that the cases were of “sunburn” and not “sunstroke,” he said.

He said all the victims had direct exposure to the sun with their shirts off. This probably led to ‘sunburn.' As the direct rays of the sun fall on you, the temperature is much more than air temperature. He said the medical report had found that the cases were not due to dehydration.

Mr. Scaria said the peculiar climatic condition of Palakkad and the hot winds blowing through the Palakkad gap were found to have led to cases of sunburns. The other members of the team are Muralidas and T.V.S.S.K. Vinayak.

Seven cases of sunburns were reported from Pathiripala, Mankara and Perur during the last three days.

A two-member team from Disaster Management group of the State government comprising K.G. Thara and C.A. Latha is scheduled to visit the district on Saturday.