Overthrow that heat wave

Sun stroke is a medical emergency and, therefore, should not be treated lightly

By Author  |  Published: 14th Mar 2019  8:09 pm
Seasonal changes

With sun shining in all its glory and temperatures skyrocketing, sun stroke is the first thing that we have to worry about. “Medically speaking, sun stroke is a condition when there is a sudden rise in the body temperature that is followed by splitting headaches and dizziness,” says Dr Radhika santi Gorthi, a consultant general physician, Sri Venkateshwara Multispecialty Clinics and Diagnostics, Himayathnagar.

“While the rise in the temperature can either be gradual or sudden, it usually happens in peak summers when the moisture content in the air takes a downward descent,” she adds. Though we tend to brush it off as a simple one, a heat stroke can cause a lot of damage, if not treated with care.

Tell-tale signs

• Constant and pounding headache followed by dizzy spells and discomfort
• Chapped lips, hot and dry skin
• Rapid pulse
• Fluctuating sweating
• Disorientation and aggression
• Seizures (sometimes)
• Severe vomiting and diarrhoea

First aid

• Move the person away from the direct sunlight, to a cooler place.
• If indoors, place the person under the fan and open all the windows.
• “It is important that you try and lower the patient’s body temperature. You can try wrapping them in a cool cloth or place a wet cloth on their forehead. If not, a sponge bath or an ice pack (in extreme cases) should do the trick,” Dr Radhika suggests.
• If the patient is conscious enough to drink something, try getting them to drink coconut water, ORS, and any other non-alcoholic cool beverages.
• Monitor the body temperature while you bring them to medical attention.

Prevention

• Staying properly hydrated is the best way to avoid sun stroke. Always carry around a bottle of water, ORS or stock up on fresh fruit juices, etc.
• Reduce exposure to excess sunlight and under unavoidable circumstances, cover yourself up properly before you venture out in the sun.
• “Darker pigmentation in urine is usually a sign of dehydration. Keep an eye open for any colour changes and take necessary precautions,” Dr Radhika advices.
• Wear light-coloured outfits.
• Take extra care if you are into outdoor activities.
• Avoid alcoholic beverages.

 

Sun stroke