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The prevention and cure of heatstroke

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 02 May 2011

India is a hot country! Heat rashes, cramps and fatigue are common in summer, that’s the way your body tells you ‘It’s too HOT!’

While you may have armed yourself with products from supermarkets and home-made remedies to tackle it, you also need to educate yourself about a serious problem – heatstroke.

Here’s some information about it.


What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke, a serious condition in which the body’s temperature (usually 370 C) is abnormally high (above 410 C).  Heatstroke is a medical emergency which requires immediate attention, or it may turn fatal or damage internal organs.

Why does it occur?

Your body cools by sweating. When external temperature or humidity is very high, body might be unable to cool as rapidly as it’s heated. Dehydration may also lead to heatstroke, as body is unable to generate sweat to cool down.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke?

Heatstroke may develop suddenly or after a person experiences heat exhaustion (and doesn’t take any action). Thus recognising the symptoms is very important! Here are a few signs to watch out for:

  • High body temperature
  • Absence of sweating, with red hot or flushed dry skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Experiencing hallucinations
  • Seizure or coma (in extreme cases)

In some cases heat exhaustion may develop into heat stroke. The symptoms of heat exhaustion are –

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness

How can you prevent heatstroke?

  • Keep yourself hydrated – Fresh juices, chilled milk, plain water, all are ‘cool’ for summer! However, you should avoid caffeinated drinks (cola, tea, coffee, etc) and alcohol as it dehydrates your body. Don’t venture out of your home without water, even for short distance.
  • Avoid the sun – Carry an umbrella or wear a hat when you step out. Try to be indoors in afternoon. If you live in a very humid area, buy a small battery powered fan to help you cool when outdoors.
  • Wear light cotton clothes – Cotton clothes absorb sweat and make you feel comfortable. It‘s also very airy, thus good for summer.
  • Take frequent breaks – If your work involves staying outdoors, take frequent breaks. Wash your face with water and drink juice with electrolytes (you also lose salt with sweat).

How is heatstroke cured?

Heatstroke requires immediate medical treatment. It is cured by bringing down the body temperature and hydrating the person properly. It’s best left to doctors. If you notice anyone showing signs of heatstroke, take these steps –

  • Take the person to a shaded area and loosen the clothing.
  • Spray water on the person and fan him/her.
  • Place ice pack under armpits or wet handkerchief on forehead.
  • Give the person some cool water only if they are in a position to drink it (or they might choke).
  • Call an ambulance.

So just take a little precaution and care. Be sun safe this summer!

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2 responses to “The prevention and cure of heatstroke”

  1. lakkanna says:

    good information to peaple, thanks.

  2. sumit gupta says:

    good information

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