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How to avoid heat stroke

How to avoid Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke

Have you experienced giddiness and unease when you have been out in the sun for too long? Have you seen someone faint in the hot sun? Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke are ailments that are common during the summer. In this blog post we will find out what Heat Exhaustion is and how it can lead to potentially life threatening Heat Stroke. We will find out what warning signs and symptoms to look out for and how to react in case of an emergency situation. We will also talk about general precautions that need to be taken so as to avoid these illnesses.

So let us start from the beginning, shall we?

What causes Heat Exhaustion?

It is a summer illness that occurs when the body temperature rises due to prolonged exposure to heat and due to dehydration. Excessive loss of fluids from the body without replenishment aggregate this condition. In simple words if you have been out in the sun for too long and have not been drinking fluids your body risks getting overheated.

symptom of heat exhaustion
Image credits Geralt via Pixabay

What are the symptoms?

There are plenty of warning signs before Heat Exhaustion occurs. If you have been out in the sun for too long watch for these warning signs

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea and anxiety
  • Fainting or heat syncope
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeble pulse and low BP

To find out if someone is suffering from Heat Exhaustion look for the following signs

  • Excessive sweating
  • Cold, pale and clammy skin
  • General disorientation and confused thoughts

What to do when someone displays signs of Heat Exhaustion?

Generally the subject would start acting confused and would start to faint. In such a case it is important to get out of the sun or away from the heat source. Make the person lie down with her or his head at ground level and make them drink small amounts of water. It is a good idea to make her or him drink cool water with sugar and a bit of salt to help in re hydration.

What is Heat Stroke?

This is a condition in which heat exhaustion symptoms are ignored and the body temperature rises further. Heat stroke are potentially life threatening if not taken care if. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention in case of a heat stroke.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are similar to that of Heat Exhaustion: Headache, vertigo and fainting occur. If the person stops sweating and starts to hyperventilate it means that she or he is suffering from a heat stroke and immediate action must be taken. Symptoms also include disorientation followed by convulsions and a sudden increase in body temperature.

What should be done in case of Heat Stroke?

Immediate medical attention is necessary as circulatory collapse can lead to permanent brain damage and even death.  It is important to lower the body temperature by emergency cooling measures like wrapping the subject in wet sheets or immersion in cold water. Immediate hospitalization is recommended.

Image credits Publicphoto.org

How to avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke?

The idea is to keep the body from overheating. Here is what to do and what not to do.

  • Avoid exposure to the sun for prolonged periods of time. If unavoidable, get out of the sun frequently.
  • Avoid strenuous work in the heat and in high humidity
  • Drink plenty of fluids continuously. It is a good idea to drink slightly salty drinks like lemonade or fruit juices. Pro Tip: Carry ORS powder (Oral re hydration Solution) mixed in a bottle of water and keep sipping it when it is really hot.
  • Dress lightly and try to wear cotton clothes.
  • Keep cool. Rest frequently in the shade.
  • Remember to seek medical attention in case of fainting. Heat stroke is not to be taken lightly.

Hope this article is useful and even life saving. Share this with your friends and let us know what you think in the comment section.

About Dr A.K Bharadwaj

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