With the rise of temperature during the hot summer months, it's important to be aware of the dangers of heat stroke. Heat stroke is a serious condition which occurs when the core temperature of your body rises to dangerous levels, often due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures or physical exertion in hot environments. According to Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, heat stroke is a life-threatening condition in which the body's sweating system fails, making it difficult for the body to cool down. In 10 to 15 minutes, the body temperature can soar to 106°F or higher during a heat stroke.
Types Of Heat Stroke
According to Dr Ingale, “Heat stroke occurs when the body's cooling mechanism fails to regulate its temperature and it is of two types:
Exertional Heat Stroke
Exertional heat stroke usually occurs during intense physical activity in hot weather, such as during strenuous exercise or outdoor sports.
It may affect physically fit individuals, including athletes, laborers, etc. who engage in heavy physical activities
Non- Exertional Heat Stroke
It can occur in anyone, including those who are not engaged in physical activity, and is often due to environmental exposure to high temperatures, such as being trapped in a hot car or staying in a poorly ventilated space for an extended period.
Risk Factors Of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is more likely to occur during heat waves or in regions with extreme temperatures, especially when combined with high humidity in the atmosphere.
Lack of adequate fluid intake can impair the body's ability to sweat and cool down, increasing the risk of heat stroke.
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Engaging in intense physical activity, particularly in hot conditions, can strain the body's cooling mechanisms and lead to heat stroke.
Infants, elderly individuals, and those with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, or respiratory issues, are at a higher risk of developing heat stroke.
What Are The Signs of heat stroke
Recognising the signs of heat stroke is crucial for early intervention. The symptoms of heat stroke can vary, but commonly include:
- Hot, dry skin or no sweating
- Unusually high body temperature
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid or increased heartbeat
Take Steps Promptly
If you or someone around you is experiencing signs of heatwave, it is essential to take immediate action. Delayed treatment can result in serious complications, including organ damage. Here are some steps to take if you suspect heat stroke:
- Get emergency medical aid
- Don’t leave the person unattended, stay with him/ her until emergency medical services arrive
- Move the person to a shaded and cool place and remove extra clothes like jackets & scarves
- Cool the person down quickly, using following methods:
- Wet the skin – lightly sprinkle water on them
- Place cold wet cloth on the skin
- Apply ice pack to the head, neck, armpits, and groin
- If possible, place them in a batch tub with cold water
- Circulate the air in the surroundings with a fan or AC
In severe cases, hospitalisation may be necessary for additional treatments such as intravenous fluids and medications to manage complications. It is important to seek medical attention promptly if heat stroke is suspected.
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As the temperature continues to rise this season, the risk of heat stroke increases. It is essential to take precautions during hot weather, such as staying hydrated, wearing lightweight and loose-fitting cotton clothing, avoiding the sun during peak hours, and seeking shade or air conditioning when possible.