Mercury Rising – Here is How You Can Avoid Heat Stroke

Summer has come and with it, arrived weather-related illnesses. The weather change may bring slight discomfort and fever in little children but everyone has to know of a potential heat stroke. Did you know? Your body is an amazing machine that manages its temperature by producing its own heat in the winter times and cooling the body by sweating in the summer times. Your body can take care of itself around 37 degrees, but as soon as the mercury rises, your body’s mechanisms to cool may not keep up and it should. So, when your body cannot cool itself down in extreme temperatures, heat-related problems creep up.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Hot environments are a threat to your body. The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke followed by heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is similar and also serious but not fatal like a heat stroke can be. There is a general weakness, heavy sweating, vomiting, partial loss of consciousness or pale skin.

Whether you are shopping outside, working in your garden or fields, exposure to extreme humidity and heat impedes your body’s ability to cool off. You may get heat rashes, faint due to heat exhaustion but a heat stroke is a deadly condition. If you don’t get to the doctor on time, it can even be fatal. You should know the warning signs of a heat stroke to make sure you and your loved one get immediate medical attention.

Warning signs of a Heat Stroke

If you were having a heat stroke, you may not know it! it’s funny, isn’t it? Well, knowing these signs will help you recognise the discomfort in your loved ones so you can get them help. While the signs may vary in different people, keep a lookout for these warning signs of a heat stroke:

  • No sweat and dry/hot skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Strong pulse or heart rate
  • High temperature (above 39.4 degrees)
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures

What causes heat strokes?

Knowing the causes will help you do things to avoid heat stroke. Any kind of heat-related disease is because of your body’s failed heating and cooling system. When our body sweats, it is a natural way to cool it down. Working out in hot weather, wearing heavy clothing in the heat, consuming alcohol and dehydration are of the causes for heat exhaustion. Feeling exhausted by overheating for an extended amount of time can lead to a heat stroke. Even though anyone experiencing overheating is at risk for a heat stroke, other factors can also increase the risk of heat stroke.

Who is at risk for heat strokes?

As a general rule of thumb, little children under the age of four and seniors over the age of 65 are more at risk for heat-related diseases. This is because their bodies experience difficulty in regulation at such an age.

Do you or your loved one take medication for high blood pressure? Such medications and heart-related illnesses may cause dehydration which increases the risk of heat stroke.

Are you overweight? If you or your loved one weighs more than normal, your body retains heat more and finds it difficult to cool down fast also.

Planning a vacation to a warmer or cooler climate? If you go to a place with extreme temperature, your body may struggle to keep up and maintain balance. If you going to a hotter climate, your body may not regulate itself which may cause a heat stroke.

Focus on preventing heat stroke

Here are five ways to avoid heat stroke.

  1. Avoid overexposure to the sun: Even if you have to work outside, find a cool place in the shade and away from the heat of the sun. If that is not possible, then make sure you take a lot of breaks or reschedule to avoid working in the heat all together. Use sunscreen.
  1. Stay hydrated: Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of heat stroke apart from extended heat exposure. Drink water at regular intervals even before you feel thirsty. Remember, if you are thirsty, then your body is already dehydrated. Seasonal fruits like sugarcane juice, lemon juice, and all sorts of melons are excellent hydrates of the body.
  1. Wear appropriate clothing: Some people have a tendency to put on extra clothes on babies, even in the heat! Avoid this because even babies and little children need to regulate their body temperatures and are more at risk of a heat stroke. If you have to go outside or work outside, make sure to cover your head with a scarf or a hat. Wear cotton clothes that are loose and airy to help instant cooling of our body in the summer heat.
  1. Avoid heat-y foods: Replace caffeine and alcohol with smoothies, fresh fruit or vegetable juices. Eating spicy food also increases your body temperature. So eat light meals to keep your body cool this summer.
  1. Avoid sitting in a hot car: Don’t leave little children, the elderly or your pets in a parked car. In the hot summer heat, cars tend to heat up quickly and as the mercury rises, they are at most risk of heat stroke.

With heat stroke, it’s so important to focus on the prevention methods. Do you have more tips?

Simple Steps for Prevention and Care from Viral Flu

It’s Monsoon – the season for colourful umbrellas and waterproof jackets. It’s the season for trekking, picnics, and hot cuppa ginger tea. It’s the season of cloud-laden sky when the greenery returns to the garden and there is a respite from the scorching heat of the summer.

But the monsoon season is a mixed blessing. It also brings with it some health ailments like cold, cough, sore throat, allergies, and stomach problems. One of the common problems affecting people during this season is the viral flu. Every year, millions of people fall prey to the wrath of the terrible flu, also popularly termed as Influenza. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5% to 20% of the population in the United States is affected by the flu each year and as many as 2,00,000 people need to be hospitalized every year for flu-related complications. There are a lot of cases where the effect of the flu becomes severe and increases the risk of diseases such as malaria and dengue. Very severe cases of flu, malaria or dengue can also prove to be fatal.

The numbers just go to say that you must not take cases of cold, cough and fever lightly. The condition might seem ordinary at first but the chances of it turning into a severe case of a serious disease are also high. And as goes the popular saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Small practices such as eating healthy and working on ways to increase your immunity can make a lot of difference to your lifestyle and avoid quite a few health-related hassles in the future. Here are some basic measures you can take:

  • Avoid close contact with anybody who is sick. Germs and bacteria carrying the flu are extremely contagious and can spread majorly through inhalation of air. Keep your distance from people when you are sick to avoid spreading the virus.
  • When you are sick, stay at home as much as you can and stay warm. Being in a public place makes it very difficult to isolate yourself from people and keep them away from the infection. Staying at home will also provide you with the best comfort and rest so that your body can recover quickly. By resting, you will help your body in fighting the infection.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue paper or handkerchief when you are sick and need to sneeze. This will prevent the germs from spreading all around you.
  • Wash your hands as often as possible and keep them clean. For those of us who are out in the open most of the time and end up making contact with a lot of dirty and unhygienic items, washing hands with a good soap will help you get rid of the bacteria. In case of unavailability of soap, use a sanitizer or any alcohol-based rub.
  • Practice healthy eating habits. Eat foods that will provide you with enough vitamins, proteins and minerals, and will help build up your immunity. Drink a lot of water. Fluids help in detoxifying your body. Fluids also help thin mucus so that it’s is expelled easily.
  • Try home remedies like drinking a cup of ginger tea, having honey in tea with lemon, adding garlic supplement to your diet, and gargling with salt water.
  • Get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce illnesses, doctors’ visits and days of missing work to a large extent as well as avoid cases of hospitalization. It is recommended that everyone who is six months or older must get a flu vaccine.

Flu symptoms include cold, cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, headache, body ache, chills, and fatigue. In severe cases, the patient may even suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea. Check for these symptoms and visit a doctor to get prescribed medicines and start the treatment. Absolutely avoid self medication.

Changes in weather conditions is a phenomenon that occurs naturally and nobody can stop the adverse effects it causes to our body. Taking good care of ourselves, eating right and leading a balanced lifestyle is what will help us in staying fit and healthy in the long run.