The most catastrophic heat-related sickness is heatstroke. When the body can’t regulate its temperature, it rises quickly, the perspiration process malfunctions, and the body can’t cool down.
Within 10 to 15 minutes after a heat stroke, the body temperature can reach 106°F or more. If not treated immediately, heatstroke can result in death or lifelong disability.
Classic heat stroke (non-exertional) and exertional heat stroke are two types of heatstroke. In the summer, classic heatstroke primarily affects the older population and is linked to a lack of proper air conditioning.
Symptoms of Heatstroke
- Slurred speech
- Altered mental condition
- Consciousness loss (coma)
- Excessive sweating or hot, dry skin
- Body temperature is high.
- If treatment is delayed, it might cause death.
The Steps to Follow
- For immediate medical assistance, dial 1122.
- Stay put with the person till help arrives.
- Remove the person’s outerwear and place him or her in a shady or cool spot.
- If possible, cool the person with cold water or an ice bath; moisten the skin, apply cold wet cloths on the skin, or immerse garments in cool water.
- To expedite cooling, circulate the air around the person.
- Apply ice or cold damp cloths to the head, neck, armpits, and groin area, or immerse the garments in cool water.
Who Is At A Risk of Heatstroke?
A heat stroke is distinct from a stroke. The term “stroke” refers to a condition in which there is a reduction in oxygen flow to a part of the brain.
Especially susceptible individuals (at risk) to heat stroke include:
- Elderly people (often with associated heart diseases, lung diseases, kidney diseases, or who are taking medications that make them vulnerable to dehydration and heat strokes).
- Individuals who labor outside in the sun and are physically active
- Cars that are left with infants, children, or pets inside them.
Avoiding dehydration and intense physical activities in hot and humid conditions are the most important ways to avoid heat strokes.
- If you must engage in physical activity in hot weather, consume lots of fluids (water and sports drinks).
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine (soft drinks and tea), which can cause dehydration.
- If you sweat heavily or engage in strenuous activity in the sun for an extended period, your body will require electrolyte (sodium) and fluid replacement.
- Take regular breaks to stay hydrated.
- Wear caps and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- When not in use, keep cars locked and never leave infants, children, or pets alone in a locked vehicle.
It is always better to be careful than to be sorry. With the mercury levels rising in the country, more and more people are coming at the risk of getting heatstroke. PAMI advises you to stay indoors, wear a cap and sunglasses and keep a bottle of water to keep wetting your face and head.
In this way, you can keep your body temperature down and prevent heatstroke. Also, try to stay under shades or go out at a time when the heat is low – like early morning or late in the afternoon.