All you need to know about heat stroke and how to deal with it
As the mercury levels are soaring in north India, being out in the sweltering heat can result in heat stroke which can be extremely harmful, even fatal, say experts.health and fitness Updated: May 21, 2016 13:16 IST
Heat stroke is a serious illness. It occurs when the body is unable to control a steep rise in its temperature. If the system is not cooled quickly to restore normal body temperatures, the damage from heat stroke can be irreversible.
As the mercury levels are soaring in north India, being out in the sweltering heat can result in heat stroke which can be extremely harmful, even fatal, say experts.
Heat stroke is caused due to prolonged exposure to higher temperatures (above 40 degrees Celcius) or physical exertion; it usually occurs in combination with dehydration, writes Dr Anjali Mukerjee, expert nutritionist and dietitian.
“If left untreated, heat stroke can affect vital organs and can prove fatal in severe cases,” said Dr Raman Abhi, additional director (internal medicine) at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in the capital.
Sudden rise in body temperature, rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak, rapid or shallow breathing, unconsciousness, lack of sweat, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and seizures are some of the symptoms of heat stroke, Abhi added.
The skin may lose its moisture and water retention capacity leading to hot and dry skin.
In addition, some people show some behavioural changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering.
Heat stroke can hit anybody, but some factors can predispose you to higher risk levels, according to Dr Mukerjee: In the very young, the central nervous system is not fully developed, and in older adults, it begins to deteriorate, which makes the body less able to cope with fluctuations in body temperature. Both age groups usually have difficulty remaining hydrated as well, thus increasing the risk.
“Avoid sudden temperature changes like shuttling betweeen a cool environment to an extremely hot one. Shut off the cooling to bring yourself down to the room’s temperature before stepping out in the sun,” suggested Abhi while listing out some dos and don’ts.
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight, especially during afternoons. And if that it unavoidable, one needs to cover the head.
Light-coloured cotton clothing should be preferred as these provide enough ventilation to the skin.
One also needs to be well hydrated to avoid dehydration.
“Five to seven litres of water is a must during the day,” Abhi stated.
(With IANS inputs)