Bahrain to see ‘hottest Ramadan in 30 years’
Manama, July 28, 2011
Bahrain could have its hottest Ramadan in more than 30 years, experts said, while issuing an alert sensible fasting
Those with serious health conditions have been advised not to fast at all.
Ramadan is predicted to start on Monday (aug 1) and will run throughout August, with temperatures soaring above the 40C mark.
With eating and drinking in public banned during daylight hours, dehydration is a major concern for anyone spending time outdoors, particularly labourers who could be exposed to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Meanwhile, pregnant women and Muslims recently diagnosed with diabetes or kidney problems are being advised to avoid fasting and make up for it later, said Health Promotion Directorate director Dr Amal Al Jowder.
"I won't pretend this (fasting) won't be difficult - particularly for those exposed to the heat or doing physical activity in the heat, because they will lose a great deal of sweat," added Dr Al Jowder.
Bahrain Astronomical Society vice-president Dr Waheeb Alnaser said it was likely to be the hottest Ramadan in 33 years.
Because Ramadan is a month in the Islamic lunar calendar, it falls earlier every year - and this is the first time since the 1970s that it has landed in the middle of summer.
Not only is summer hotter, the days are also longer.
"On the first day of Ramadan, we will fast 14 hours and 47 minutes - from 3.38am to 6.25pm," Dr Alnaser said. "And on the last day for 14 hours and five minutes, from 3.57am to 6.02pm."
He explained it would be another 13 years before Ramadan ended before the summer started.
"Each season takes nine years and we will start fasting in spring only in 2017," Dr Alnaser said. "And to completely avoid summer we will have to wait until 2020.
"This Ramadan will be the hottest theoretically because it's falling from August 1 to August 29, when the average maximum temperature over the past 100 years has been 51C, the average temperature is 38C and 82 per cent is the highest relative humidity."
As a result of the extreme temperatures and long days, health experts are advising people newly diagnosed with conditions such as diabetes or kidney problems not to fast at all.
Dr Al Jowder added that fasting was beneficial in removing toxins from the body, but stressed that people should eat sensibly once the sun went down.
"The key to breaking fast during Ramadan is moderation - not to eat too much or too little, that's a principle of Islam," she said. "When people are breaking their fast they should drink plenty of fluids and eat fruits. The other thing people should remember is to break their fast gradually - fasting is useless if we do not eat the right things when breaking fast.”
"There is no point starving your body for the whole day and then filling it with sugars and oils and smoke straight away,” she added.
That advice was supported by Bahraini nutritional therapist Alia Almoayed, who emphasised it was crucial for people to refuel properly after a day of fasting.
"The most important thing is to keep hydrated after breaking fast and making sure it is good quality rehydration," she said. “A lot of the water in Bahrain is very high in sodium content, but lower the sodium in the water the better."
Almoayed admitted she was concerned about those having to work outside this Ramadan without water.
However, she added that for most people in Bahrain the fact that Ramadan was falling in summer could be a bonus.
"Generally, I think it's a good thing that Ramadan is falling in August," she explained. "This time of year tends to be quite quiet in Bahrain and when people are on a detox or fast, it is better for them to be less stressed. I would advise people to stay away from sugar and drinks like coffee and tea because they will increase cravings during the day.”
"People should remember to break their fast on something light, instead of something heavy with lots of oil and sugar - as is common. It's understandable that people would want to do that because they have been starving all day, but that is actually the worst thing you can do,” she added. – TradeArabia News Service
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