The summers are here and seem to be worse than ever. While some have the luxury of being in an air conditioned room for most part of the day, there are some who do not have that luxury. And if you thought sunscreen is all you need to keep you safe from the sun, you are quite mistaken. The sun not only brings with it tanned skin but it can also can lead to a serious condition called heatstroke. Also colloquially known as a sunstroke, a heatstroke is where your body heats up excessively due to exposure to heat. Clinically a person is said to be suffering from a heatstroke if their body’s temperature reaches 140oF (40oC). This is an extremely common condition in places where there is hot air blowing or those places where there is a lot of humidity. Young children, the aged and the ailing are at a higher risk of suffering from this condition. So, to help you stay safe this summer, here is all you need to know about a heatstroke and staying safe from it.
You are very likely to suffer from a heatstroke in this weather, here are some of the most common causes for the condition:
Hot weather: Called nonexertional heatstroke (one that is caused due to the temperature and not physical activity), this condition is caused due to excessive exposure to hot and humid weather – especially if you are exposed to it for an extended period of time.
Physical activity: This type of heatstroke is caused in those people who perform extremely strenuous activity which leads to an increase in their body temperature. Known as exertional heatstroke, this condition is commonly seen in people who do strenuous activity – like working out – in hot and humid weather.
Drinking alcohol: Alcohol dehydrates you, some more than others – but they do none the less. Apart from that it also affects your body’s ability to regulate your temperature. Therefore, drinking in hot weather is another factor that can cause a heatstroke.
Not drinking enough water: Becoming dehydrated is another cause for heatstroke. Dehydration or the lack of water in the body is one of the causes for excessive fatigue and lack of the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Some of the most common symptoms of a heatstroke are –
A heatstroke is an emergency situation since a person’s body may heat up to such an extent that it could cause irreparable damage to the body and in some cases even death. Here is what you need to do while waiting for emergency treatment.
- Move the person to a shaded or cool location (like an air conditioned room).
- Take off his/her any excess clothing to help their body cool down
- Place ice packs or cold towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.
- Alternatively you could spray the person with water and use a fan to cool them down.
- Give them cold water or lemon juice (with salt and sugar) to help them re-hydrate.
If you are diagnosed with heatstroke, your doctor will first administer electrolyte replacements. This may include either oral or intravenous administration of electrolytes. Apart from that you may be advised to rest and avoid exposure to the sun for a few days.
An untreated heatstroke can cause severe damage to the person’s brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. All this happens because the body is unable to manage the high temperatures.
As time progresses the person’s condition will most likely only become worse and increase the person’s chances of severe complications and even death.