Abu Dhabi: Zookeepers and other staff at Al Ain Zoo have received tips from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi on avoiding sun stroke and respiratory problems during the hot summer season.

Staff at the zoo learned how to recognise the warning signs of heat-related illnesses, their management, and how to avoid them in the first place.

In addition to practical tips, the staff received comprehensive health screenings and information on managing their health in dry and dusty conditions as well.

“The staff at the zoo here do a wonderful job of looking after the animals, so it’s only right that we make an effort to take care of them. Working in the heat is more than just unpleasant; extreme heat can put excess stress on the heart, so it’s vital that people take some simple steps to protect themselves,” said Dr Mourad Kirollos, a physician at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain.

The most serious heat-related illness is heat stroke, a medical emergency that requires that an ambulance be called immediately. Symptoms specific to heat stroke include hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, slurred speech, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting.

If a person is suspected of suffering from heat stroke, he or she should be moved to a cool, shaded area before taking immediate measures to reduce the body temperature, such as soaking clothes with water and fanning the body.

“In our work, we spend a lot of time outdoors caring for the animals. It really means a lot that we have visitors that have come to show an interest in helping us to cope with the summer heat. Now, I feel more confident that I could recognise the symptoms of illness caused by the heat in myself or my colleagues and know what to do in that situation,” said an employee at Al Ain Zoo.