Come, summer, and it brings with it a whole host of issues, and among them, heatstroke is a common one. Generally, the temperatures rise to 40 degrees or more in many parts of India. It is usually at this stage that we hear about people being hit by heatstroke. Heatstroke is a condition wherein the body heats up excessively, as a result of exposure to heat in the environment. Usually, this affects people who are out on the run in the heat and are exposed to the excessive heat for a prolonged time.
What many people are not aware is that heatstroke is a serious condition that requires medical treatment and can otherwise prove to be very serious, including causing death at times. So, how does one recognize that a heatstroke has occurred? Here is what you need to look out for.
The commonly seen symptoms of heatstroke are as follows:
- Excessively high body temperature – This is the main sign of a heatstroke, and usually, body temperatures of 104 F or more are seen.
- Altered sweating – The skin feels a bit different due to the altered sweating, being hot and dry, whereas, in the usual kind of sweating, the skin feels moist due to the sweat.
- Confused behaviour – The person may behave a bit confused, or like in a delirium, and show irritability or have slurred speech.
- Seizures or coma – At times, people struck by heatstroke, are also known to have seizures or even go into a coma.
- Rapid breathing – The breathing may be shallow and rapid.
- A headache – The person affected may complain of a headache.
- Vomiting – People may also have nausea and vomiting if they have been hit by a heatstroke.
- Redness of skin – The skin may look flushed or red in colour due to the effect of the heat.
- Increased pulse rate – Your heart rate may rise due to the impact of the heat on your body and this can be observed as increased pulse rate.
If you notice that a person is suffering from all or a combination of the above symptoms, then it is best to seek immediate medical attention and take him to a doctor. Generally, the people struck with a heatstroke is treated by cooling.
Causes and susceptibility
Usually, infants, the elderly, athletes, and the people who work out continuously in the hot sun are the ones to be struck by heatstroke. Apart from the age, and temperature factor, excessive exertion can also result in heatstroke. This is why athletes are put in the susceptible lot as if they train hard without taking necessary precautions, they too can be hit by this issue.
At times, you may also get heatstroke, due to excessive clothing which affects your body temperature, alcohol consumption as well as dehydration. Along with this, certain medical conditions or certain illnesses too may aid a heatstroke.
How to prevent heat stroke?
One of the best ways to avoid heat stroke is to avoid the direct heat or sun, especially for long hours. Try to stay indoors during the times when the heat is more and step out at other times. The next best way to avoid heat stroke is to ensure that you intake proper fluids throughout the day and stay well hydrated. Along with this, it is also important to wear light, loose-fitting clothes so that the body gets enough space to keep it cool.
Check with your doctor about any medications or illnesses that you have, whether any of them can result in a heatstroke. This is more so, especially for the aged people as they are already considered to be in the high-risk category where heat stroke is concerned. Usually, if a person takes all necessary precautions, heat stroke can be avoided.