A heatwave occurs when the maximum and the minimum temperatures are higher than usual, for over a three-day duration, at a particular location. Heatwaves typically occur between March to June, and in some rare cases even extend till July. It is also called a ‘silent disaster’ as it develops slowly.

The underlying causes for rise in the tenure and frequency of heatwaves are climate change and global warming. In 2022, at least 90 heat-related deaths were reported in Pakistan and India, and similar risk of fatalities cannot be ruled out in 2023 as well. However, authorities are better prepared this time, with a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region already issuing early heatwave warnings and advisories.

Heatwaves cause both long-term and short-term impacts that affect business operations at tactical as well as strategic levels.

Long-term Impacts –

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Short-term Impacts –

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Heatwave Intensity

Heatwaves are classified into three types, based on intensity.

IntensityLow-intensity HeatwavesSevere HeatwavesExtreme Heatwaves
FrequencyHighLess FrequentTypically, Infrequent
Health impactMost people can copeDifficult for vulnerable populationsAffects everyone, in absence of suitable precautions

Heatwave Prone States in India

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APAC countries under Heatwave Warnings

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Vulnerable population groups

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Symptoms and First Aid

Heat DisorderSymptomsFirst Aid
SunburnSkin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches.1. Cold shower
2. Medical aid in case blister develops
Heat CrampsPainful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles or extremities, heavy sweating.1. Application of firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm.
2. Adequate hydration.
Heat ExhaustionHeavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale, headache and clammy, weak pulse, fainting, vomiting.1. Application of cool, wet cloth; relax in a cool and dry place.
2. Seek immediate medical attention in case of vomiting.
Heat Stroke
(Sun Stroke)
1. High body temperature (106+Fahrenheit).
2. Hot, dry skin
3. Rapid, strong pulse, possible unconsciousness, sweating unlikely.
1. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call an ambulance, delay can be fatal.
2. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Avoid fluids.
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For corporates

  • Permit flexible working arrangements (schedule strenuous/ on- site jobs during low temperature hours, permit frequent breaks).
  • Appoint a doctor/ general physician in the office building.
  • Advised to pay extra attention to pregnant workers and workers with a medical condition.
  • Establish a complete heat illness prevention program.
  • Maintain stocks of ORS solution.
  • Turn off machines (printers, photocopiers, projectors, etc) when not in use.
  • MitKat advises to prepare for adequate power and water supply backups.
  • In case any worker gets unconscious, avoid giving anything to drink or eat and seek medical help immediately.
  • In case a worker feels unwell, provide frequent sips of cool water or ORS solution, slowly splash water, and increase air flow by using a hand-fan or anything that comes handy (paper, notebook, etc).


  • Avoid non-essential outdoor activities during peak heat hours (1200-1600hours).
  • Avoid engaging in strenuous physical activity in the afternoon.
  • Refrain from intense physical activity in case feeling unwell.
  • Carry water and food/fluids with glucose when stepping outdoors.
  • Avoid consuming food or beverages that are not stored properly or exposed to the sun for an extended period.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks, which dehydrates the body.
  • Recognise the symptoms of heat stroke, heat rash or heat cramps and take adequate rest indoors or consult a doctor.
  • Advised to wear cotton or lightweight clothes and use umbrella, cap, and sunglasses.
  • Advised to remain vigilant of advisories issued by competent authorities. The National Disaster Management Authority of India has issued a heatwave advisory which can be accessed at – https://ndma.gov.in/index.php/NaturalHazards/Heat-Wave

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