Singhal Hospital,Udaipur: How to fight heat related illness like Heat Cramps, Heat Rash, Heat Exhaustion and the most sever Heat Stroke.
Let's see the symptoms and know first aid to better prepare for the heatwave
India is experiencing the worst heatwave in decades, people are now more prone especially outdoor workers, children and elderly people with comorbidity to heat-related illness, in this blog we'll see how we can prevent them and if caught with it what is the first aid for them let's see it.
Before diving in various type heat-related illness, let's see how we can prevent it. Dehydration is the most common cause of many heat-related illness, so our priority must be to stay hydrated, keep handy a water bottle always with you be it while commuting (especially traveling alone) or in office, or in class, in short everywhere. Try to drink at least 3-4 liters of water a day, instead big glass one can take frequent sips of water. Eat more and more of watery seasonal fruits like various types of melons, orange, grapes. Doctors recommends to have O.R.S. (Oral Re-hydrated Salts solution) if someone is more involved in outdoor or strenuous activities, it replenishes the electrolytes loss in our body. Parents must be more careful with their children, who are playing for long duration in summer vacation.
Heat Cramps are the mildest form of heat illness usually affecting those people who sweat a lot due to prolonged physical exertion in hot environment resulting in loss of body's fluids and salts. Low level salts in muscle causes painful cramps.
Symptoms: Muscle cramps, spasm or pain in arms, leg or abdomen,
Drink O.R.S. (Oral Re-hydration Salts) or Coconut water or water (if not available).
Immediately stop the exercise/activity and shift to a cool place.
If pain does not subside in 1 hour or the complainant has heart related problem ask for medical assistance.
Heat Rash is a skin irritation caused by more than normal sweating in hot and humid weather. Common in place like neck, groin, elbow crease, under the breast and upper chest.
Symptoms: Appear as cluster of pimples or blisters
Move to a cool and less humid place.
Do not use any kind of cream/lotion or ointment without doctor's consultation.
Apply powder to the rash area and keep it dry.
Heat Exhaustion is more sever heat related illness in comparison to above. It's the body's response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. People most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly, people having high blood pressure, and those working in a hot environment.
Symptoms: High body core temperature (100-103 degree Fahrenheit). nausea, headache, dizziness, thirst, decreased urine output, heavy sweating, heat cramps.
Take frequent sips of cool water or O.R.S.
Move to a cool and shaded place.
Remove unnecessary clothing and provide sponging with cold water
If the condition fails to improve call 112 for medical assistance.
Most sever heat related illness, our body fails to control its temperature, our sweating mechanism fails. Core body temperature can shoot to 106 degree Fahrenheit or above in just 10-15 minutes. It can cause permanent disability or even death if emergency treatment is not given on time.
Symptoms: Slurred speech, confusion, seizure, loss of consciousness, high body temperature with hot and dry skin.
Rush to hospital or call 112 for emergency medical assistance
While the medical assistance arrive shift the complainant to cool and shaded place,
Provide ice bath or sponging with cold water
Remove outer clothing and place wet clothes on neck, head, groin and armpits.
Heat related illness can be kept at bay by keeping our body well hydrated and taking care of our body hygiene with regular wash. People often make mistake while making ORS solution hence decreasing its efficiency so make the solution as directed on packaging, (don't make it too dilute or too concentrated solution). Natural sources for replenishing the electrolytes loss are coconut water, lemonade, orange juice among others.
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