Shield yourself from the sun!

Sunday, 27 April 2014 - 7:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

The scorching heat can cause severe dehydration of the body resulting in heat stroke

Summer has been unleashing perhaps, it's worst onslaught lately. As the temperature soars high, so do the number of complaints from people complaining about feeling fatigued, exhausted, dizzy, sweating profusely, etc. How would you know if you might actually be be suffering from a heat stroke? We spoke to experts to give the low down on this matter:

What is it?
In medical terms, heat stroke can be defined as a core body temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celcius, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures.

"Heat stroke,sun stroke,summer stroke are the same entity, which are bascally classified under the medical term, Hyperthermia. This is characterised by uncontrolled increase in body temperature that exceeds body's ability to lose heat. Heat strokes occur in individuals exercising in elevated ambient temperatures or humidity," explains Dr Anil Ballani, consultant physician, Hinduja and Lilavati Hospital.

The heat, humidity and excessive exposure to Sun can cause severe dehydration of the body resulting in heat stroke or sunstroke. The cause can be excessive sweating especially during the hot season, which gives rise to fluid balance disturbance, says health consultant Dr Parul R Sheth.

She recounts instances of patients coming in with heated body temperature reaching 104 degrees F and adds that this occurs because of prolonged exposure to high summer temperatures.

Children are prone to this
Infants and children upto the age of four are more sensitive to hyperthermia because of high metabolic rate, inefficient sweating and the fact that they rely on others to regulate the environment an provide adequate fluid intake, informs Dr Ballani.

Dr Sheth too, agrees with this saying, "Children and elderly are more at a risk of heat stroke. Physical exertion in hot weather can be disastrous for children. But recent research suggests that children are not quite as immature as previously thought when it comes to regulating heat."

Coping with the heat
Dr Sheth suggests the following tips:

Use cool water to bring down the body heat. Use a sponge or wrap yourself with a wet towel or sheet and rest in a shaded area.
Drink plenty of fluids, and stay away from alcohol as it can increase dehydration.
You can sip a sports drink to replenish the sodium levels.
Go easy on exercise and stay indoors between 12 noon and 4 pm.
If you feel really sick with high fever, vomiting, drowsiness, pale and clammy skin, rapid pulse or feel faint, seek medical help.

Rapid shallow breathing
Severe headache
Red, hot and dry skin

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