Heat Stroke

Sairamnath Ananthakrishnan
Sairamnath Ananthakrishnan

 | 1 minute to read
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During summers, our country may risk another round of high temperature wave most probably next year. There is something we need to be certainly wary of. Due to the inevitable climate change that is only increasingly erratic, temperatures are bound to hit the roof, especially during summers. Ever faced symptoms like Dizziness, constant headaches, muscle weakness or even cramps while being outdoors? If yes, read on because these are some of the common symptoms you may or your family members would likely face during summer season. What is Heat Stroke? Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency condition wherein the body fails to cool down and their temperature remains dangerously high. Heat stroke can seriously damage the brain and other internal organs. The individual is said to be suffering from heat stroke if the temperature of the body remains 104 deg Fahrenheit (> 40 deg Celsius) or above. What causes a heat stroke? Heat stroke occurs when the body is continuously exposed to high temperatures that can lead to the failure of the body’s temperature control system. Heat stroke can also be caused due to dehydration and if you are involved in a strenuous physical activity. So next time if any your gym trainers asks you to refrain from sipping water regularly after every set, you can safely ignore that suggestion. So what could actually cause a heat stroke despite consuming water while being outdoor? • Alcohol consumption • Side effects of certain medication that can cause excess sweating, urination • Wearing tight or excess clothing that can cause heat stroke due to inhibition of cooling by evaporation What are the indication of heat stroke? Heat stroke has various symptoms with which it can be identified immediately and necessary actions can be taken. They are: • Persistent and painful headache • Dizziness and light headedness • Lack of sweat despite the heat • Muscle weakness and/or cramps • Nausea and vomiting • Rapid heartbeat • Rapid, shallow breathing • Confusion, disorientation etc., • Seizures • Unconsciousness What are the complications that follow heat stroke? • Internal organ damage • Seizures • Comatose • Death of a person (In case of pregnant women, death of foetus as well) Who are vulnerable to heat stroke? Other than healthy young adults, heat stroke can be particularly common among the following: • Elderly people (people over the age of 75 adjust to the heat more slowly) • Pregnant or breastfeeding women • Children (upto the age of 4 adjust to the heat more slowly) • Diabetic, Blood pressure, cardiac patients • Recreational drug users Even domestic animals such as dogs and cats are vulnerable to heat strokes. Symptoms such as lethargy, excessive panting, unresponsiveness are common among them. What are the treatments to be carried for a person affected by heat stroke? One of the following treatments could be carried out on a person down with heat exhaustion • Cover the person with water soaked or cold towels/sheets • Ice packs on the head, neck, groin, armpits • Cold shower • Augment the process by placing them in a room which is cooler (use a fan or an air conditioner to cool the room) Apart from the above, these steps are to be mandatorily carried out • Provide them with adequate water. Preferably a glucose based drink or any sports drinks will be a better choice • Lie them down flat and raise their feet slightly with a pillow beneath Prevention is better than cure Going by the old adage, it is better to prevent the issue from happening in the first place. The following precautions to be taken to prevent a heat stroke • Wear loose fitting and light coloured clothing • Stay well hydrated. You may consume drinks that are good in replenishing sodium and potassium due to your physical activity • If you are cramping, rest immediately and observe for a while. If you are cramping even after your rest, take the day off and relax. Being stubborn about continuing will only worsen the situation • Avoid sitting inside a car parked in an open area. Also do not lock your child/children inside the car. They are much more prone to heat exhaustion than an adult • Avoid alcohol if you are to engage yourself in an outdoor activity • Avoid any strenuous outdoor exercise when the day is unbearable. Best is to stay indoors to avoid furthering the risk Key Takeaway: No matter how disciplined we may be with our diet or workout, there are some mandates to be followed especially during the summer season. Stay adequately hydrated, keep the body cool, consume food that have adequate sodium and potassium (through clean foods of course !!) to prevent any damage to self while being outdoor. Health is wealth. Hence be smarter during summers
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