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While summer may bring with it the chance to splash around in cool swimming pools, go on the much awaited vacation and of course the widest variety of juicy mangoes, it also brings with it sweltering heat that can cause serious health problems if proper precautionary measures are not taken. Heat strokes are the most common complaint during this time of the year and are a result of a person becoming dehydrated and the bodily temperature rising. Heat strokes can prove fatal and people have been known to go into a coma. If your work keeps you out in the sun for long periods or you are part of large event such as a sports function, ensure that you take the necessary precautions to save yourself from becoming seriously ill. To prevent heat strokes, apart from drinking enough fluids – keep a water bottle handy, use safety products such as a sun block, use a Water purifier (Ultra Filtration), wet wipes, carry an umbrella, wear sunglasses and remain calm.

Signs of Heat Stroke

The first and most obvious sign is that the person does not perspire. This means that your body is unable to keep itself cool through its natural cooling mechanism of sweating. It is important to be extra vigilant for elderly, infants and children. People who are on certain kinds of medication are also at risk of heat stroke. Other high risk groups are athletes and people who work outdoors for long and sustained periods of time.

Keep a look-out for these tell-tale signs:

 Shallow and rapid breathing
 Pale and dull skin
 Extreme tiredness and weakness
 Feeling of nausea and dizziness
 Higher than normal pulse rate
 Muscle cramps
 Unnatural and profuse sweating

What you should do

It is absolutely crucial to take the necessary preventive measures to keep a normal body temperature despite the blistering heat and unbearable humidity. If you know that you will be exposed to the extreme temperature it would serve you well to keep the precautionary measures in mind:

– Take regular breaks in the shade
– Continually sip on water or other healthy fluids (steer clear of aerated beverages and caffeine)
– Don’t push yourself beyond a point. The body can endure only so much.
– Wear airy and loose clothing in light colours.
– Use a hat or parasol and most definitely use a sunscreen
– Wipe your face with a moist cloth or use the more hygienic wipes available in the market
– Avoid eating foods laden with calories like fast foods, fried foods and such. Stick to healthy food options as these will keep up the energy levels of your body and provide the required nutrition.

Who is most at risk?

Heat stroke, like any other ailment can strike anyone. However, there are some people who are more at risk of suffering a heat stroke and if you know of such people in your family and surroundings, help them to keep safe.

– The elderly – especially people over 65 years of age. Make sure their surroundings remain cool and airy
– Infants and young children – simply because they have lower immunity and would be unable to care for themselves
– People who have medical conditions like heart ailments, suffer from high blood pressure or lung disease and use medications for these ailments

– Certain medications also put their users at higher risk of catching a heat stroke:
• Allergy medicines
• Diet drugs
• Laxatives and irritable bladder relief medicines
• Cough and cold medications
• Anti-depressants and other mental health medication
• Medicines to control thyroid and seizures

The sensitivity to heat continues for as long as a week post the rest and medication for a heat stroke. Check with your doctor to know when it is safe for you to begin an exercise regime or even go back to work. Prevention is the best way to avoid heat stroke – just like a lot of other ailments and problems. Be Cool – be safe!