#Editorial

Heat, heat everywhere

IN Nigeria, as customary in this period of the year, all regions in the country always experience much heat. However, the heat this year has been unusually high to the extent that everywhere people turn to, it is high heat. This has made many Nigerians very uncomfortable and hence the need to adequately inform and enlighten them of the prevalence of heatwave as well as its debilitating consequences so that they can prepare to adapt and prevent the negative effects of long exposure to the heatwave. This is very essential because the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) informed Nigerians they will experience more heatwaves in the coming days.

NIMET on February 13 during the presentation of its weather  outlook for the year revealed that the air temperature in the north is at 41°C and 39°C over the south, indicating a significant increase in heatwave suggesting temperatures to remain high in the coming days in the country. In short, the agency predicted a prolonged heatwave across the country in the coming days. And therefore, it warned Nigerians that the high level of heat can cause dehydration, heat-related illness and respiratory issues, among other chronic conditions. In addition, the forecast shows that residents of Ikeja, Lagos State, Warri and Asaba in Delta, among other states are likely to experience sunstroke, muscle cramps and heat exhaustion.

TO avoid the debilitating consequences of the current heatwaves everywhere in the country therefore, people should be aware of the development, its consequences and how to prepare to cope with the vagaries of current high temperatures and its consequences. 

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IT should be noted that the effects of the current high heat is made worse by the failure of people to comply with town planning and building development regulations that limit building on all their lands and overcrowding resulting from developing land beyond acceptable standard. Others are poor ventilation, indiscriminate bush burning and complete removal of vegetation. These are the factors exacerbating the high heat in the country.

THUS, experts warn that the extreme temperatures, amid the epileptic power supply, could trigger diseases, threaten livestock, and lead to death. Indeed, the current extreme heat has  a number of health implication such as dehydration which could also cause fainting, chicken pox disease, measles, heat rash, weakness of the body, slight fever, and dry lips. Other effects are heat-related illnesses; respiratory issues; and increased vulnerability to chronic conditions. The excessive heat is also capable of disrupting other economic activities like farming, and agriculture and social activities such as education among others.

APART from the physical heat associated with temperature, Nigerians are pummeled by other forms of heat ranging from hunger, insecurity and low purchasing power. The inability of most parents to put food on the  table for their families is enough factor heating up their temperature. Similarly, the widespread insecurity has made many Nigerians to be living in fear and this is a heat on its own. Moreover, the inability of an average Nigerian to meet his/her daily needs due to their low purchasing power caused by the hyper inflation is another heat on the citizens.  

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SINCE NiMet  projections indicate temperatures would remain high in the coming days, safety measures to prevent negative outcomes and address problems when they occur become necessary. In the first instance, people should endeavour to reduce their exposure to high temperatures as much as possible by staying under shade or indoors with cooling systems like an air conditioner during peak heat hours (stay indoors as much as possible between noon and 4:00 pm evening time).  There is the need for members of the public to take adequate fluid to keep hydrated, wear light clothing to reduce exposure to high temperatures and avoid strenuous activities during peak heat times.

AGENCIES of government concerned with the environment such as the Ministries of Physical Planning and Urban Development, and Environment should be alive to their responsibilities to eliminate overcrowding and ensure that there are sufficient planted trees in our communities.

THE  epileptic power supply should be immediately addressed so that people will have power to run their fans and air conditioners to reduce the effect of the prevalent high heat. There is also the need for more public enlightenment on the need to embrace green environment by planting trees and grasses in their environment as well as obey town planning and building regulations.  

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