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Heat Stroke: Prevention, cures, first aid

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency.

Heat stroke can kill or cause harm to the brain and other internal organs.

Although heat stroke mainly affects people over age 50, it also takes a toll on healthy young people.

Heat stroke results from extended exposure to high temperatures, commonly in combination with dehydration. This leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system.

According to Mayo Clinic “Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher”.

According to well-known medical journals and web portals common symptoms of heat stroke are

• Throbbing Headache

• Dizziness

• light-headedness

• Lack of sweating despite the heat

• Red, hot, and dry skin

• Muscle weakness or cramps

• Nausea and Vomiting

• Rapid heartbeat

• Rapid, shallow breathing

• Seizures

• Unconsciousness

What To Do

• If you find someone suspected suffering from heat stroke, immediately call rescue or if you have the facility, transport the person to a hospital. Any delay in seeking medical help can be lethal.

• After calling rescue immediately start first aid until the arrival of rescue.

• Move the person to an air-conditioned environment, cool or shady area, whatever is available.

• Remove any unnecessary clothing.

• If possible, take the person’s core body temperature and initiate first aid to cool it to 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. (If no thermometers are available, don’t hesitate to initiate first aid.)
Cooling Strategies:

• Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose.

• Apply ice packs to the patient’s armpits, groin, neck, and back. Because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them may reduce body temperature.

• Immerse the patient in a shower or tub of cool water.

Who Is at Risk

Infants and children up to age 4, and adults over age 65, are particularly vulnerable because they adjust to heat more slowly than other people. Other than that athletes and outdoor workers are also at risk.

Prevention

• Drink plenty of water and fluids especially in Ramadhan.

• Eat watermelon, melon and drink juices of seasonal fruits.

• Avoid going out during the day unless absolutely necessary.

• Cover your head and neck if you have to go out.

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