Here are three tips to prevent heat stroke – Technology News, Firstpost

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As a primary care physician who often treats patients with heat-related illnesses, I know all too well how heat waves cause spikes in hospitalization and deaths associated with “severe non-stress-related hyperthermia” or what most people call “heat stroke”.

Heat stroke is when a person’s body temperature rises too high – often above 40 F (104 F) – due to high ambient temperatures and humidity prevents the body from cooling down by sweating and breathing. When heat stroke develops, the patient has a rapid heartbeat, torn breath, dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, and confusion. Eventually, the patient may lose consciousness completely.

Without medical help, heat stroke is often fatal. On average, about 658 Americans die each year from heat stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heat stroke victims can be of any age, but most often it struck the elderly – especially those over 70 – because our body’s ability to cool decreases with age. In addition, many common medications used to control blood pressure, seizures, and psychological disorders impair a person’s ability to regulate temperature. These risks are exacerbated when an elderly person has no knowledge of a dangerous heat wave, has no functioning air conditioning in their home, and has no one to check them.

In addition to increasing age, other factors that increase the risk of heat stroke are obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Here are three tips to prevent this potentially deadly condition:

  1. Stay hydrated. In warm weather, increase your water intake and avoid sugary drinks and alcohol. If your doctor has restricted your daily water intake due to heart failure or other diagnoses, stay in touch with them during a heat wave to avoid medical complications.
  2. Rest. Do not train during the hottest times of the day – typically 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – and wait longer for recovery after training when heat and humidity have risen.
  3. Find a cool environment. If you don’t have an air-conditioned home or car, try:
  • wearing light, breathable clothing
  • avoid time in direct sunlight
  • by spraying yourself with water and sitting in front of a fan
  • in a cold bath or shower
  • by placing a cold pack on the neck, armpit, or head
  • by contacting your local health department for local heat relief

Fans help – not by lowering the temperature of the air, but by causing the air to move over the skin, leading to the evaporation of sweat, which lowers the body temperature. While fans are useful, air conditioning is better in humid conditions because it produces drier air that allows your body to cool more easily.

In a heat wave, take the time to log in with your elderly neighbors, family, and friends to make sure they have the means to stay cool. If you experience someone with symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 to get emergency help for assessment and treatment.

Perhaps Lovin ‘Spoonful said it best in the hits “Summer in the City.”

  Hot town, summer in the city
  Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
  Been down, isn't it a pity
  Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

The next line of the paragraph, “Around, People Look Half Dead,” doesn’t have to describe you if you learn to avoid heat stroke. Just stay cool, rest and stay hydrated. Simple, right?

Gabriel Neal, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Texas A&M University

This article has been republished Discourse Creative Commons license. Read original article.

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