Top 10 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat and Prevent a Heat Stroke
Summer is the worst part of the year for people living in warm tropical places. The extreme heat and humidity leads to a possible risk of various types of diseases. However, with extreme heat two potentially serious conditions occur with heat waves and strenuous physical activity. These are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is a prelude to heat stroke. It is a condition where the body becomes extremely hot that it starts losing body salts and water, which results in an overall feeling of being unwell.
Heatstroke generally referred to as sunstroke is a serious condition wherein the body becomes over heated due to its inability to cool off through sweating. The symptoms generally manifest as heat exhaustion and when left untreated leads to heatstroke. Less common than heat exhaustion, heat stroke is potentially a critical condition as it causes a strain on vital organs such as the heart, liver, lungs and brain.
Symptoms of Exhaustion
- Rapid pulse beat
- Excessive sweating
- Increased thirst
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling unwell
- Low urine output
- Dark urine
Symptoms of heat stroke
- Shallow rapid breathing
- Muscle weakness
- Dry skin
- Lack of sweating
Causes of a Heat Stroke
- Hot humid climate
- Clothing that prevents evaporation of sweat
Sudden exposure to the sun during extreme heat wave conditions is another risk factor for heatstroke.
The ability to withstand extreme heat conditions depend upon the central nervous system. There is an inevitable deterioration of the nervous system in senior citizens and in the very young; the central nervous system is not completely developed. Hence, both these groups are at risk due to their inability to remain hydrated.
Intensive sports/military training in extremely hot climates result in heatstroke.
Specific types of medications such as diuretics, beta-blockers, antidepressants, vasoconstrictors and stimulants prescribed for ADHD affect the body’s response to heat, which makes it difficult to stay hydrated.
Taking precautionary measures and making relevant lifestyle changes help prevent occurrences of heatstroke. Here are a few valuable tips for safeguarding the body from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
1) Acclimate To the Weather
During summer, it is crucial for the body to get accustomed to the hot weather conditions. Hence, it is important to stay in the shade after being out in the sun, without entering an air-conditioned place immediately to help the body adapt to the change.
2) Avoid the Sun
Avoid venturing out in the sunlight during the hottest part of the day between mornings 10 o’clock to evening 4. Hence, it is imperative to reschedule outings and other activities during early morning or in the evening after 4.
3) Slather Sunscreen
Slather sunscreen all over the exposed parts of the body while going out in the sun. A sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is required to avoid fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots, freckles and other serious issues like developing cataract or skin cancer.
4) Limit Physical Activities
Physical activity is crucial for the body and mind to remain healthy. However, during summer avoiding physical activity does a world of good, as it has a tendency to increase the body temperature culminating in heat stroke.
5) Wear Light Clothing
Light coloured clothing in fabrics such as cotton, chambray and linen enable easy absorption of the heat, permitting the body to breathe easy and cool down. Avoid dark coloured tight fitting clothes, which cause a rise in temperature.
6) Cover the Head
Besides wearing light cotton clothing, covering the head with a wide brimmed hat, scarf or umbrella protects the body from heatstroke.
7) Always Remain Hydrated
Drink plenty of fluids to avert heat stroke. Fluids in the form of water consumption, fruits and vegetable juice, buttermilk and tender coconut water help adjust body heat, controls sweating which keeps the body hydrated. Besides, consume sports drinks and stay away from caffeine and alcohol that have a tendency to raise body temperature.
8) Healthy Balanced Diet
During summer, it is vital to eat a well-balanced healthy diet complete with water-laden fresh fruits and vegetables to prevent heatstroke. Apart from these, taking soups, salads and broths with easily digestible food also helps. Furthermore, avoiding hot spicy foods and scheduling light healthy meals three to four times a day proves beneficial.
9) Try Natural Remedies
To safeguard the body from heat stroke it is essential to prevent increased body temperature and stay cool. Hence, try natural body coolants such as raw onions, extracts of basil and coriander leaves, buttermilk, coconut water and fresh fruit juices.
10) Create Cross Ventilation
It is imperative to stay indoors either under a fan, cooler or air-conditioned room during the hottest part of the day at least for a couple of hours. Shut down the windows and draw the curtains and blinds during the day and leave the windows open at night to create cross ventilation.
Other Useful Tips
- Monitor for signs of dehydration. Dark yellow or amber coloured urine, occur due to dehydration which requires more water and fluid intake.
- Splash cold water and have frequent showers as many times as possible to cool off
- For any suspicious signs of heat stroke, loosen the clothing and move over to a cool place. Cool off the body by splashing cold water.
- Seek immediate medical help if suffering from symptoms of vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and elevated body temperature.
- For people on diabetic, cardiac and blood pressure medications, it is imperative to consult a physician to avert a heat stroke.
So eat right, dress light and stay cool this summer to combat heat wave conditions.