How to prevent heat related illnesses
New Delhi: May 18th 2016: Today was one of the hottest days of the season with the temperature reaching above 45 degrees Celsius. Heat can cause several health complications especially for those with existing lifestyle diseases. It is thus crucial that awareness is raised about ways to prevent heat exhaustion, heat strokes and dehydration.
When the temperature rises, the human body cools itself mainly by sweating. The evaporation of your sweat regulates your body temperature. However, when you exercise strenuously or otherwise overexert yourself in hot, humid weather, your body is less able to cool itself efficiently. Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.
Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.
“Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat strokes are common in the summer months and can be fatal for those with pre-existing heart disease. Dehydration is a known trigger for atrial fibrillation and strokes. The need for excessive blood to be pumped to the surface of the skin can increase pressure on an already weak heart. Medicines such as beta-blockers slow one’s heartbeat thereby limiting the heart’s ability to pump blood fast enough to reach the surface of the skin triggering a heat strokes. It is thus important to take necessary preventions”, said Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General IMA & President Heart Care Foundation of India.
A few ways to prevent heat related illnesses:
If possible, avoid going to places with excessively high temperatures. Instead step out during the mornings and evenings.
If you have to go in hot weather, prepare yourself. Wear a long sleeved cotton shirt that cannot only protect your skin but also absorbs the sweat while keeping you cool.
Stay Hydrated: Drink water even when you aren’t thirsty. Dehydration can be dangerous especially for heart patients.
Eat a light and healthy diet: Stay away from heat causing foods that have high levels of salt, and trans fat. Nourish yourself with moderate amount of protein, carb and plenty of water. Do not just drink water and starve, the body needs other nutrients too. Stay away from alcoholic and high caffeine drinks.
Recognize the symptoms of heatstroke. An oncoming migraine is an indication of heatstroke so if you get one, get out of the sun fast and try to get indoors. Once the headache starts no matter how much water you drink it will not go away. Other dangerous symptoms are nausea, dizziness and fainting, which, if left ignored could lead to death. Call a doctor if it gets serious.