How extreme heat threatens health and safety

A visitor to Stone Lake in La Porte, Ind. on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 wades through the lake with her dog. (AP)
A visitor to Stone Lake in La Porte, Ind. on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 wades through the lake with her dog. (AP)
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Updated 20 June 2024
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How extreme heat threatens health and safety

A visitor to Stone Lake in La Porte, Ind. on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 wades through the lake with her dog. (AP)
  • The more serious version is heatstroke, when the body’s core temperature goes above 40.6 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit)

LONDON: With extreme heat gripping much of the Northern Hemisphere this week, authorities and public health experts have issued heat warnings to help keep people safe.
Parts of China, India, the Middle East, southern Europe and the United States are bracing for the possibility of new record highs.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS?
Heat affects health in several ways.
Heat exhaustion, which can include dizziness, headaches, shaking and thirst, can affect anyone, and is not usually serious, providing the person cools down within 30 minutes.
The more serious version is heatstroke, when the body’s core temperature goes above 40.6 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit). It is a medical emergency and can lead to long-term organ damage and death. Symptoms include rapid breathing, confusion or seizures, and nausea.
As climate change continues to drive temperatures upward in coming years, the danger of humidity is also expected to rise. Warmer air can hold more moisture. And more moisture in the air makes it harder for people to sweat to cool down.

WHO IS AT RISK?
Some people are more vulnerable, including young babies and older people, as well as people who must stay active or are more exposed, such as homeless people.
Existing conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as diabetes, can also heighten risk — and be exacerbated by heat.
Many countries do not record heat as a specific cause of death, which means we do not have statistics to gauge this risk on communities.
However, a 2021 study in The Lancet estimated that just under a half-million deaths can be attributed to excess heat every year — a conservative count that lacks data from many low-income countries.
Many in Europe fear a repeat of the 2022 summer, during which heatwaves killed an estimated 61,000 people, scientists said.
The risks will continue to rise as climate change pushes global temperatures even higher in coming decades.
LESS OBVIOUS RISKS
Apart from testing a body’s internal thermostat, extreme heat can pose a host of other, secondary risks.
Warmer temperatures encourage the growth of bacteria and algae. So heatwaves can raise the risk of water being contaminated with diseases like cholera, or of water bodies becoming choked with toxic algae.
Heat can also damage crops, adding to concerns about food security.
Starting from 2030, experts expect that global death tolls will increase by 250,000 per year as a result of four climate-related health risks: heat stress, malnutrition associated with food insecurity, malaria, and diarrhea, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Wildfires fueled by dried-out trees or shrubs can lead to dangerous levels of air pollution, which can cause lung inflammation and tissue damage.
Studies have also suggested that both extreme heat as well as exposure to wildfire smoke could also be linked with low birthweight and premature births.
Heat stress can also contribute to poorer mental health. Rising night-time temperatures can disrupt people’s sleep patterns, worsening mental health outcomes.

TIMING MATTERS
Experts say more deaths occur earlier in the summer when people’s bodies have not had a chance to acclimatize to the season.
Location matters, too; people are at higher risk in places where they are not used to such heat, including parts of Europe.
As outdoor work becomes dangerous amid high temperatures, some countries and communities have shuttered schools or forced a shortening of daytime work hours for businesses.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Public health agencies from India to the United States have issued advice on keeping cool, including avoiding exertion where possible and staying hydrated.
Authorities often aim to help by setting up cooling centers, distributing extra water or providing free access to air-conditioned public transport.
Workers should think about having more breaks and changing their clothing too, scientists said.
It is important to check in on the vulnerable, including older and isolated people, they said.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate professional attention.

 


Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat

Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat
Updated 19 July 2024
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Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat

Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat
  • From new sports projects, physical activity is soaring, and running is no exception

RIYADH: For many, summer in Saudi Arabia is a time to relax on the couch, turn up the air conditioning, and watch other people play sports on TV, with those who dare to challenge this approach often ending up with heatstroke.

Yet, running clubs in the Kingdom are busier than ever, and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Seema Ghannam, who regularly takes part in Riyadh Road Runner club sessions, told Arab News: “You can keep active wherever you are. There is no limit to movement anywhere you go because you already have hands, arms, and legs. This is what you are born to do, to keep moving.”

Riyadh Road Runner, made up of a variety of ages and nationalities, began with a warmup before moving to strength training and then running laps around the court. (Supplied)

Until recent years, physical activity in the Kingdom was almost nonexistent outside of schools and designated football teams. People were discouraged by the lack of facilities, suitable outdoor spaces, and the hot weather. Now, all that is changing. From the growing number of padel courts to the new projects at Sports Boulevard, physical activity is soaring, and running is no exception.

To find out how these runners manage to keep up their routines in the heat, Arab News visited Riyadh Road Runners, established in 1978, at one of the club’s 7:30 p.m. Monday sessions at the Eid Villas Compound. Runners were doing laps, climbing stairs, and completing full-body workouts.

The group, made up of a variety of ages and nationalities, began with a warmup before moving to strength training and then running laps around the court, focusing on proper technique.

FASTFACTS

• Until recent years, physical activity in the Kingdom was almost nonexistent outside of schools and designated football teams.

• Now, all that is changing. From the growing number of padel courts to the new projects at Sports Boulevard, physical activity is soaring.

Coach Amr Hafez has the runners break up their runs occasionally with bodyweight and stair exercises to increase stamina and muscle strength. The session ends with a final lap around the whole compound. At the end of a very sweaty workout, the runners take a dip in the pool to cool down.

Ghannam, who is also a yoga teacher and swimming instructor, added running to her exercise routine two years ago. She said that she enjoys Hafez’s holistic approach to the body, training the abs, hips, glutes, and thighs.

“We focus on trying to learn different kinds of running, how to run, how to place your toes, what shoes you should use.”

Riyadh Road Runners, Eid Villas Compound. (Photo by Mayas Al-Ahmadi)

Ghannam said that she enjoys running outdoors because “you want your skin and your body to get used to the temperature.” But to manage the heat, runners should choose a time that is best for them, whether at night or early in the morning.

Hafez, a national sales manager at a Saudi food company, has coached with Riyadh Road Runners for more than three years. He has three key rules when it comes to running in summer. One is to stay well hydrated, two is to control your breathing, and three — much to our dismay — is high-intensity interval training.

The coach said that when he first started running, he used martial arts moves as part of his training, a fitness trick he learned from his first running coach.

Riyadh Road Runners, Eid Villas Compound. (Photo by Mayas Al-Ahmadi)

“Runners need to build all their muscles to have great ability,” he said. “Combining strength with fitness helps people develop running ability for doing long distance.”

Hafez said that he used to think running served no purpose, and was simply a means of punishment when a school coach thought someone was slacking off. He never imagined he would one day run a marathon or be teaching other people to do the same.

“Most of the team when they first started couldn’t jog even 1k,” he said.

Omar Al-Ansari, a coach with Riyadh club R7, has six marathons under his belt. R7 runs in Wadi Hanifa, where the location offers protection against the heat.

“The trails are naturally shaded by the trees, and the breeze from the lake provides a 3–4-degree difference in temperature from the rest of the city,” he said.

Like Riyadh Road Runners, R7 emphasizes staying hydrated. “Always run with water, take electrolytes to preserve what is being lost through sweating,” Al-Ansari said.

He also advises runners to wear light-colored clothing, to complete their workouts before sunrise or after sunset, and to choose a garden or wadi as a location, or exercise indoors.

“And never forget your sunscreen,” he added.

Many runners told Arab News there is no longer any excuse for being inactive in the Kingdom.

“We are seeing a broader awareness about the importance of having an active lifestyle in the country, and despite our difficult weather in the summer, there are ways to go about it,” Al-Ansari said.

Hafez offered Arab News this simple suggestion: “Start by walking and go from there.”

 


Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar

Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar
Updated 19 July 2024
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Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar

Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar

There’s a new way to stay fit in Alkhobar this summer with the recent opening of Curva Pilates earlier this month.

The women-only studio is situated on the second floor of an indiscreet building, marked with the letter A on the outside. It is an ideal place to spend an hour using the reformer Pilates machine, either in a solo session or with a group class. There is limited parking directly outside of the studio space.

Pilates, which is a form of exercise developed by the German Joseph Pilates in the 20th century, helps combat health issues and increases flexibility. It was originally designed to help soldiers gain strength by attaching springs to hospital beds to create resistance. If you have ever done yoga or ballet or gymnastics, you might enjoy this process — but it is its own thing.

You may opt to message their account on Instagram, where you will be asked to provide your name and phone number, after which you will receive a welcome message on WhatsApp, with the class details and some ground rules. “For your safety and to keep up our hygiene standards, you should always make sure to wear Pilates socks when taking a class,” it says.

Once entering the serene space, decorated with fresh flowers and the refreshing scent of lemon detox water, which is free for all customers, you will be given an electronic key to a locker where you can securely place your handbag. You can keep the key with you and return it at the end of your visit. There are hooks to hang your abayas and a shoe cubby.

If you do not have Pilates socks you may use regular ones. And, in case you forget to push your hair back, there are hair clips available in the mirror area to use, and wet wipes at the ready, should you wish to freshen-up before or after your session.

You may take a session with Coach Lubna, who is fair and balanced. For first-timers, she asks whether they have any body ailments they need to be aware of — do they have any existing body aches or injuries, any surgeries or issues with their back, shoulders, arms or legs.

Lubna explains every step briefly, and makes the experience enjoyable. The reformer machine is not hard to use and is ideal for any fitness level.

She makes sure to ask for feedback and listens to all comments and concerns. Lubna believes that consistency is what matters most — no matter what level you are on — and recommends visitors try the reformer three times per week.

Reformer classes at Curva can be purchased either per session for SR175 ($46) each, or in a package for a slightly better rate. Five sessions go for SR850, 10 sessions for SR1,650 and two other package options are available — for 15 sessions and 20.

There is a 10 percent discount for college students and a 10 percent discount for Aramco staff.

While it has become a global trend, this enduring form of exercise that emphasizes core strength, flexibility and overall body awareness is not yet widely practiced in the Eastern Province. Curva is there to change that.

Find them at CurvaPilates.com or on their Instagram, @CurvaPilates.


Have a sunkissed and safe summer

Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging.
Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging.
Updated 16 July 2024
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Have a sunkissed and safe summer

Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging.
  • Experts advise on how you can get that golden glow and save your skin from damage, cancer

RIYADH: As the summertime rolls in, recreational tanning becomes a popular trend among young Saudi men and women who seek a sunkissed glow all year-round. Despite the allure of a bronzed complexion, the dangers associated with recreational tanning cannot be overlooked, especially if one skips applying sunscreen.

Jumana Ghassan, 25, told Arab News that she remains steadfast in her belief that sunscreen will get in the way of a proper bronze tan.

“I never use sunscreen when I tan, which is something I do every weekend, because I believe SPF does not allow me to get a golden and glowy tan.”

Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging. (Supplied)

She is convinced that by skipping this vital step in her skincare routine, she will achieve a deeper, more even tan.

Sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer, with cases increasing in Saudi Arabia because of the high levels of sunlight throughout the year.   

According to research conducted at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in 2020, the two most common types of skin cancer in Saudi Arabia are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, making up 51.4 percent and 22.5 percent of cases respectively.

The proper amount of sunscreen for the face is equivalent to two-finger lengths. (Supplied)

While sunlight exposure has some benefits, exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from tanning beds or the sun can have detrimental effects on the skin.

Oncology specialist at King’s College Hospital London in Jeddah, Dr. Ali Al-Bayer, told Arab News: “Prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, leading to potential mutations and abnormal cell growth.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer, with cases increasing in Saudi Arabia because of the high levels of sunlight throughout the year.   

• While sunlight exposure has some benefits, exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from tanning beds or the sun can have detrimental effects on the skin.

This damage is cumulative over time and increases the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, he added.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp. (Supplied)

Al-Bayer said that it was crucial to try to avoid direct sunlight from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dermatologist Dr. Fatima Al-Satouf told Arab News that sunscreen acted as a barrier, shielding the skin from the sun’s rays and preventing damage.

“Overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, resulting in wrinkles, age spots and sagging,” she explained.

The proper amount of sunscreen for the face is equivalent to two-finger lengths. (Supplied)

She added that by applying sunscreen regularly and correctly, people could significantly reduce their risk of skin damage and premature aging caused by sun exposure.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp.

Al-Bayer said that in nearly all cases, skin cancer appeared in areas that were most exposed to the sun.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp. (Supplied)

“It is important to choose a sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) and broad spectrum coverage to ensure maximum protection against both UVA and UVB rays,” he said.

Al-Bayer said that the use of sunscreen should be combined with other sun-safe practices, such as seeking shade during peak sun hours and avoiding unnecessary sun exposure.

Consulting with a dermatologist for skin checks and advice on sunscreen use can further enhance a sun protection regimen.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp. (Supplied)

“Regularly checking your skin for signs of sun damage, like freckles, moles, or sunspots, can help detect potential issues early on,” Al-Bayer said.

Al-Satouf said that it was recommended to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside to allow time for it to be absorbed into the skin.

“Reapplying sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating, is crucial to maintain its effectiveness.”

Al-Satouf added that the proper amount of sunscreen for the face is equivalent to two-finger lengths.

In addition to sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, such as hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts, can further shield the skin from sun exposure.

Resorting to tanning beds is dangerous as they emit concentrated UV radiation that can be even more damaging than natural sunlight.

In fact, indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

To achieve a tan while minimizing the risk of sun damage, there are several strategies that individuals can adopt.

Rasha Al-Ghamdi told Arab News: “After a skin cancer scare, I opted to use spray tan to get my desired shade, and my skin has never felt this healthy and supple.”

Self-tanning products and spray tans offer a safer alternative to traditional sunbathing or tanning beds.

These products can help to achieve a sun-kissed glow without the damaging effects of UV radiation.

It is important to choose self-tanning products that contain safe and effective ingredients and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and maintenance.

Young people must prioritize their skin health and take measures to protect themselves from the dangers of recreational tanning.

By promoting sun-safe practices and embracing natural beauty, we can work toward a healthier and more inclusive beauty culture for all.

 


Where We Are Going Today: ‘21N 39E Brunch’ luxurious weekend brunch in Jeddah

(AN photo by Nada Hameed)
(AN photo by Nada Hameed)
Updated 16 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘21N 39E Brunch’ luxurious weekend brunch in Jeddah

(AN photo by Nada Hameed)

If you want a luxurious weekend brunch experience in Jeddah with a breathtaking Red Sea view, look no further than the 21N 39E Brunch at the Waterfront Kitchen, Shangri-La Hotel.

In a setting inspired by life aboard a luxury yacht, the brunch features an exquisite open buffet with flavors from around the world crafted at nine live cooking stations catering to diverse tastes.

From the freshest seafood at the Atlantic Ocean station to the heavenly flatbreads and pizzas at the Mediterranean Sea station, every dish delivers its promise.

The BBQ live cooking station serves up juicy and tender fresh-cut lamb ribs that are so irresistible I went for seconds.

Watching the Indian naan bread being baked upon order is a treat, and the butter chicken pairs perfectly.

The giant royal ouzi tray is a showstopper, with tender lamb and well-spiced rice. The dish includes lamb marinated with a mix of spices and then slow-cooked until the meat is tender. It is served on a bed of rice cooked with a blend of herbs, nuts, and dried fruits, giving it a rich and aromatic flavor.

The roasted ducks at the Chinese station are another highlight, served with a delicious gravy sauce, sliced onions, and bell peppers.

The World of Chocolate Corner offers an extensive artisan dessert selection, with the clementine-flavored chocolate being a standout with its refreshing and tangy filling.

While enjoying the festive array of food on the table, I tried the mixed berries mojito from the special mocktail menu, made of fresh mint leaves, lime, mixed berries, and soda — and it did not disappoint.

The brunch is available every Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Families can also enjoy an interactive art experience tailored for children at the hotel’s kids’ club.

For updates, check their Instagram @thewaterfrontkitchen.

 


Where We Are Going Today: Emmy Squared Pizza

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 13 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Emmy Squared Pizza

Photo/Supplied

JEDDAH: If you are craving comfort food or looking for a cheat-day indulgence, Emmy Squared Pizza at Jeddah Yacht Club is your go-to destination. Nestled alongside the tranquil waters of the Red Sea, the restaurant offers a serene sea view.

Emmy Squared has brought Detroit-style pizza to New York and now to Jeddah. Their pizzas, traditionally baked in square steel pans, offer a classic dish with a contemporary twist. Their signature square pizzas has a “frico” cheese crust and signature saucy stripes.

You may like to try their EURO Cup specials, including the Euro Cup Tray and cheesecake. The tray, enough for three people, offers crispy chicken crunchers, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, a mini Emily beef burger, a mini Jeddah chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a key lime-baked cheesecake. The order comes with three different sauces: Emmy’s special sauce, fresh tomato sauce, and ranch sauce.

You might also try their festive Burger Tower, which is also under the EURO Cup specials and consists of four different burgers arranged on a steel stick — the Emily Burger, Le Matt Burger, Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, and Jeddah Chicken Sandwich. This order is perfect for the whole family, with tender chicken and super-fresh beef.

They offer three flavors of milkshakes that you can order along with the Euro Cup offer — Brooklyn, Nashville, and Charlotte Shake — in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

You will love their signature mocktails, including the Aperitivo Italiano, a refreshing mix of grapefruit, lemon and peach, and the Passion’tini, which comes with tropical mango, tangy lemon and passionfruit flavors.

Or try the kale salad, which features delicious ingredients such as artichoke, sunflower seeds, dried tomato and green olives. However, you might find the sauce a bit too spicy for a salad.

As you step into the restaurant, you will feel the family’s fun vibe. They offer a magician show on Fridays and face-painting activities for children.

They also offer SR200 vouchers for a challenge between diners who dare to eat their spiciest chicken burger. Plus, you can enjoy watching your Euro Cup game while savoring your meal.

For more information, visit the Instagram @emmy squaredpizza_sa