Heat Stroke Why it Should be taken Seriously
For people all around the globe, summer months are usually employed on the beach, having fun under the glaring sun. Simply living in Dubai and in the Middle East where summer is longer than the cold season, may expose people to the sun without going to the beach. Therefore, summers can be lethal. With the influence of global warming, as heat waves become stronger heat-related illnesses become more and more prevalent.
Is one of the most severe heat illnesses, and it’s due to the body’s inability to cope with high temperatures. It is triggered when the body reaches 40°C or 104°F, and it’s usually associated with neurologic dysfunction. This type of malfunction of the body heat regulation can be lethal, and each year, the number of casualties increase.
Heat stroke: The real cause
Heat strokes usually result from a prolonged exposure to high temperatures, and in most cases, it’s combined with dehydration. Both problems lead to a progressive dysfunction in the cardiovascular system, and as the temperature rises, the cell membranes and proteins start to behave differently, causing an alteration in all body systems that resembles sepsis and other severe health problems.
It is prevalent in young athletes practicing outdoor sports, as well as seniors and small children. According to its causes, a heat stroke can be further divided into exertional and non-exertional heat stroke. An exertional heat stroke or EHS occurs to young people that engage in strenuous physical activity for an extended period in a hot environment. A non-exertional heat stroke or NEHS usually happens during strong heat waves to very young children, sedentary older adults or chronically ill individuals.
Besides feeling the heat, there are various symptoms that may serve as a warning for individuals exposed to heat. So, if you practice outdoor sports or have children or seniors under your care, it is important to know the signs and symptoms associated with this health problem.
The most common is a throbbing headache, but patients may also report dizziness. You will notice they stop sweating, even in hot temperatures, and they have a dry skin that looks red and feels hot. A heat stroke can be accompanied by muscle cramps, muscle weakness, nausea, and vomiting. One of the most noticeable symptoms can be rapid and shallow breathing. Seizures and fainting might imply the patient is starting to have serious neurological manifestations and needs urgent medical attention.
What first aid measures can I provide to a heat stroke patient?
Even if you can’t provide medical attention, there’s much you can do until doctors arrive and stabilize the patient. In every case, do not delay to call for medical attention. Do it right away. As they arrive, proceed to reduce body temperature using a series of cooling techniques:
- Pour water and fan air all over the body of the patient.
- Apply ice on the hottest areas of the body, which are commonly the armpits, neck, back, and groin. When doing this, avoid direct contact with ice. Apply ice covered with a sheet or towel.
- If possible, immerse the body on a tub of chill water or use a shower to cool down the skin and reduce the redness.
- If the patient is young and healthy, it is possible to give him an ice bath to help. Not recommended if you’re treating with children or seniors.
Heatstroke cannot be taken lightly. Should you or any of your loved ones feel any of these heatstroke symptoms call 999/998 immediately.