Document Type



Emergency Medicine


Heat waves are the second leading cause of weather-related morbidity and mortality affecting millions of individuals globally, every year. The aim of this study was to understand the perceptions and practices of community residents and healthcare professionals with respect to identification and treatment of heat emergencies. A qualitative study was conducted using focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, with the residents of an urban squatter settlement, community health workers, and physicians and nurses working in the emergency departments of three local hospitals in Karachi. Data was analyzed using content analysis. The themes that emerged were (1) perceptions of the community on heat emergencies; (2) recognition and early treatment at home; (3) access and quality of care in the hospital; (4) recognition and treatment at the health facility; (5) facility level plan; (6) training. Community members were able to recognize dehydration as a heat emergency. Males, elderly, and school-going children were considered at high risk for heat emergencies. The timely treatment of heat emergencies was widely linked with availability of financial resources. Limited availability of water, electricity, and open public spaces were identified as risk factors for heat emergencies. Home based remedies were reported as the preferred practice for treatment by community members. Both community members and healthcare professionals were cognizant of recognizing heat related emergencies.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.