Heat is one the natural calamities which claim thousand of lives by one stroke. They even have a name for this stroke: Heat Stroke. According to India Meteorological Department, “the worst is yet to come. And with global warming at its rise”, well, we do not have any doubt about it.
Before we begin with this article, let us tell you that in case you think you or anyone else is suffering from heat stroke, refrain from household treatment. Take the person or yourself to the doctor immediately! It is better to be a hypochondriac than dead.
You might wonder why Heat Stroke is such a problem? It is so because of the number of disease it can cause. Say for example cramps or even Cancer!
Ever heard of Heat Syncope? The common term for it is fainting. The person faints after being affected by heat wave. This is a result of exertion and stress under the harsh rays of sun. The body tries to cool itself, but fails. The blood vessels dilate to such an extent that blood flow to the brain is reduced.
One may also feel painful cramps in the leg or abdomen. If you feel your muscles cramping while doing some exercise, it is advised that you stop doing the activity and drink salted drinks. Not carbonated or any soda, but water mixed with salt and Water or Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS. This helps in replenishing fluid volume.
Heat wave can develop stress, disturbing the mental, physical, psychological and physiological health. Our body has the ability to cope with temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius, but further rise in temperature leads to sweating and increased blood circulation. Our body does this to cool itself. Upon failing to deal with heat exposure, it rebels by developing heat related symptoms. You need to relax and find some place with normal weather or cooler condition. Think something like a tree shade or the comfort of your own house.
When the blood plasma level of our body decreases, we begin to suffer from something called, ‘Heat Exhaustion’. Patient suffering from this tend to feel weakness, nausea, hypotension, headache, loss of vigor, rapid heartbeat and vomiting. In case you find yourself suffering from heat exhaustion, loosen your clothes and rub your skin with cool water. Heat exhaustion is not something to ignore. It can lead to Heat Stroke, something which is extremely sever in nature and may cause death.
Heat Stroke results when the temperature of the body exceeds 40 degrees Celsius. Symptoms include headache, dizziness and weakness. This is followed closely by confusion, euphoria and delusions. The person might end up losing his or her consciousness. They may have hallucination while unconscious patient may suffer from seizures. Like mentioned above, people suffering from Heat Stroke should get medical attention as soon as possible!
To reduce the risk of Heat induced illness:
1. Stay Indoor
Check weather reports before going anywhere out. If you can, avoid all possibility of going outside when the sun is at its worst. Best time to go out is in the night, evening or in early morning. If you do have to go outside, try to stay indoor like in fanned or air-conditioned room.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Irrespective of where you are, be sure to stay hydrated. Carbonated drinks do not keep your hydrated. Water or fruit juice does. Ignore alcoholic beverages as they reduce your body’s ability to cool itself.
3. Cool Your Vehicles
Try not to drive without air conditioning. Also make it a note to park your vehicle in some shaded area like tree or behind a building. Before driving, open all the car door for at least five minutes to improve ventilation.
4. Protective Clothing
To shield yourself from sun, wear light shaded clothes which are loose and made of pure cotton or linen. Cover your skin from sun by wearing long sleeved top and long-legged pants. Wear hats which are wide rimmed.
Apply sunscreen with high SPF, maybe between 30 to 60. Do not compromise with your sunscreen. Buy chap sticks or balms with high SPF level and apply sunscreen at lest 15 minutes before going outside
6. Do not leave a child alone in the car
It is not safe to leave a child alone in the car during warm weather. Inside of the vehicle can overheat to deadly temperature despite the mild temperature outside. If you think, you can keep the child in the car alone, with open windows, it does not help in the slightest. To help you remember about the child, give the child something you need to have when going out. This could be purse, key, phone or hat.
If signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion are present, you should call for an ambulance immediately. After which, you should try your best to cool down by taking shelter under shaded area or an air-conditioned room. In case you are away from urban areas, in the wilderness take the shelter of a tree and wait until your body get fully in normal conditions. Also seek medical assistance if needed.
Ask someone for cool water. Don’t drink it all in a gulp. Take sips out of it. At least as long as you are conscious. Remove or loosen your clothing, shoes and socks.
Cool yourself or have someone cool you off or cool down the person by spraying the skin with water. You can also use a sponge soaked in water and rub it against the person’s skin.
Use ice packs over the forehead, back of the neck and underneath the armpits to cool down yourself or someone else suffering from hear stroke or showing the symptoms of heat stoke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include vomiting, nausea and excessive sweating. You also end up having low blood pressure, moist and cool skin, your pulse begins to weaken as fatigue and weakness takes over. Your vision gets blurred with a strong urge for water and rapid breathing.
While symptoms of heat stroke include dry, hot, itchy, red skin due to lack of sweating. Your body temperature rises to above 40 degrees Celsius. You feel weak, confused, irritable. Your pulse becomes rapid as dizziness and headache overcomes you. You might suffer from convulsion and lose or gain consciousness.