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Monday, March 6, 2017

Sunstroke: Its Symptoms, First Aid and Preventive Measures

Summary: Sunstroke or heat stroke is a condition that is characterized by more than 105 degrees Fahrenheit of body temperature. A person suffering from sunstroke should be given first aid before the paramedics arrive. The present blog talks about its symptoms, the persons who are most likely to get it and its preventive measures.

The very name of the month of May makes the atmosphere warm. And when it is actual May, the heat becomes  all pervasive. This is the month in which the possibility of heat stroke becomes maximum. Heat stroke is the natural consequence of high temperature coupled with dehydration. Since the month of May witnesses maximum temperature and the possibility of the loss of fluid especially water becomes maximum in an individual, sunstroke becomes prevalent in this month. In medical term, sunstroke is a condition that occurs when the body temperature becomes greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke
• Painful headache
• Dizziness
• No sweating despite the heat
• Skin becoming red, hot & dry
• Painful contraction of muscle
• Nausea and vomiting
• Rapid breathing and heartbeat
• Behavioural changes, like confusion, disorientation(delusion)
• Staggering (walk or move unsteadily, as if about to fall)
• Unconsciousness for some time.

First Aid for Heat Stroke: You can initiate first aid, before the paramedics arrive. The first aid that you can provide to your loved one is as follows:
Cool the body of the person so that it could come to 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit
Apply ice packs to the armpits, neck, back and groin of the patient. Since these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them will bring down the body temperature
If the symptoms of the person affected are severe, immerse him or her in a shower or tub of cool water, or an ice bath.
Who are at Risk?
Infants and the people over 65 years of age: People over 65 years of age and the children up to 4 years of age are the most vulnerable for heart stroke as they adjust to temperature change more slowly than other people.
Poor Health Conditions: These include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart, lung or kidney disease, mental illness, alcoholism.
Medications: Diet pills, diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants and medications for psychiatric illness, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics. The use of some illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine are also linked with increased risk of heat stroke.
People with Low Immunity: Some people with low immunity may become susceptible to sunstroke, if they are exposed to sudden surge in temperature, like travelling to a hotter place or early summer heat wave.
Preventing Sun Stroke
Remain Hydrated: In order to stay away from heat stroke, it is important to stay hydrated. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. In addition to this, you should also take vegetable or fruit juice.
Avoid Exercise in Hot Weather: Avoid exercise or any kind of rigorous physical activity in hot weather, especially between 11 am-3 pm. If you can ill afford to avoid these, take regular breaks in the shade and stay hydrated.
Stay Away from Sunburn: Use protective clothing and apply sun screen having high Sun Protection Factor (Sun Protection Factor is a measure of how effectively a sunscreen will safeguard skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that damages skin, causes sunburn and may contribute to skin cancer.)
Allow your Body to Adjust to the Hot and Humid Weather: If you are travelling to a foreign country, or at a place that is hotter than the place you live in, make a trip to that place well before it becomes too hot for your body to maintain its temperature homeostasis or thermoregulation. Allow your body to acclimatize to the new place slowly.
Wear Light Clothing: Not only fluid consumption, loose and lightweight clothing do also have a big role to keep you stay away from sun stroke. These types of clothing will allow sweat to evaporate smoothly and help your body remain cool.

                                                                 --Ashish Jha

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