Soaring temperatures making life difficult? Well, it can be a lot worse if you are not careful. The risk of suffering from a heat-related illness like heat stroke rises drastically in summers. Here are some essential facts about heat stroke and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this health condition.
A medical emergency, heat stroke occurs when the body’s cooling mechanisms are overcome by heat resulting in a high core temperature, usually above 104 F in adults, and 105 F in children.
Steps that can be taken to prevent heat stroke
1. When the temperature is high, it’s best to stay in an air-conditioned environment.
2. If you must go outdoors, you can prevent heat stroke by wearing lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing, and appropriate headgear.
3. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more.
4. Drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration. It’s generally recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water, fruit juice, or vegetable juice every day. Heat stroke can also occur because of salt loss from the body thus, it is recommended to substitute an electrolyte-rich sports drink for water during periods of extreme heat and humidity.
5. Take additional precautions when exercising or working outdoors. The general recommendation is to drink extra fluids before exercise. During exercise, you should consume water every 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
6. Reschedule or cancel the outdoor activity. If possible, perform the outdoor activity during the coolest times of the day, either early morning or after sunset.
7. Monitor the colour of your urine. Darker urine is an important sign of dehydration.
8. Measure your weight before and after physical activity. Monitoring lost water weight can help you determine how much fluid you need to consume.
9. Avoid fluids with caffeine or alcohol, because both substances can make you lose more fluids and worsen heat-related illness.
10. Eat fruits and vegetables that are hydrating. They have a high-water content and contain useful electrolytes. Some of the effective hydrating foods to beat heat stroke symptoms include coconut water, watermelon, oranges, grapefruits, pineapple, berries, bananas, grapes, kiwi, cucumber, zucchini, avocado, tomatoes, radishes, iceberg lettuce.
11. Don’t leave infants or young children unattended in a car, because they may suffer heat stroke due to the rising temperature inside the vehicle.
Remember to share these precautions with your friends and family so that everyone can stay safe from heat stroke.
If anyone close to you shows signs of a heat-related illness, seek medical help immediately.