Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. The temperature is soaring each day, with a searing heat wave claiming dozens of lives in southern states of India.
The main risks posed by a heatwave are:
Heat Cramps: Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
Heat Exhaustion: Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim’s condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
Heat Stroke: It could be a life-threatening condition. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
If a heatwave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know. Knowing how to keep cool during long periods of hot weather can help save lives. The following advice applies to everybody when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks:
If you're worried about yourself or a vulnerable neighbour, friend or relative, get them somewhere cool to rest. Give them plenty of fluids to drink. Seek medical help if symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don't go away.
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