All You Need to Know About Preventing a Heat Stroke

December 02, 2018

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Heat can be silently dangerous for your health. It is important to take necessary precautions and care. Here are 5 must-knows to take care of your health in the heat.

1. Stay hydrated and protect yourself:

  • Drink water frequently and don't let it reach a point of thirst. Almost 1 cup every 15-20 minutes. Avoid alcohol and even drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.

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  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton and completely avoid synthetic clothing.
  • In case of intense heat, sprinkle water over your skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck. (Carry water Sprinklers if needed)

2. Protect yourself from sunburns:
Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and so it is important to take precautions to protect it.

  • When outdoors, use a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours - or more often if you're sweating.
  • Take more precautions if you are more susceptible due to poor physical conditions like old age, obesity, heart or lung diseases, history of heart stroke etc.

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  • You are also susceptible to sunburns in circumstances like sudden exposure to the heat or even low consumption of water. Use of alcohol/drugs can also decrease your bodys ability to cool itself down.

    3. Cool-down during rest Periods
    Cool down periods are important in the heat. Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity. And try and rest in the shade or a cool area when possible. It should be mandatory to have 10 minutes of cool-down recovery time for each two hour period of continuous work.

4. Give your body enough time to acclimatize
Acclimatization is important for new employees, heat wave events, and employees returning to work after an extended absence from heat. Remember new employees must be cautious for the first 14 days. Increase work hours gradually and over a multi-day period.

5. Look out for signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and take immediate action
There are 4 key heat-related problems you need to stay away from and look out for.

A. Heat Rash
Look out for clusters of red bumps on skin (usually appears on the neck, upper chest, folds of skin). This is a common problem in hot work environments.
Try and work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible. Remember to keep the affected area dry and dusting powder may be used to increase comfort.

B. Heat Cramps
These cramps cause muscle spasms (usually in abdomen, arms, or legs) and can be considered as one of the first signs of worsening heat-related illness. If these symptoms occur, stop all activity & rest in a shady, cool area. Drink water or other cool beverages and wait a few hours before returning to strenuous work. Remember to seek immediate medical attention if cramps don't go away.

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C. Heat Exhaustion
Heavy sweating, weakness, fast & weak pulse, cold, pale, and clammy skin, Nausea (or vomiting), headache, dizziness, lightheadedness are all clear symptoms of heat exhaustion.
If these symptoms occur, move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloth to as much of the body as possible, drink plenty of water (if not Nauseous or vomiting) or else sip water. If vomiting persists immediately seek medical advice.

D. Heat Stroke
The classic symptoms of a heat stroke are very high body temperatures (above 103F), skin turning hot, red, dry or moist and possible fainting, confusion, or seizures.

Heat strokes are a serious medical emergency and one needs to call for an ambulance immediately. While waiting for emergency services, move the person to a cooler environment.
Also, reduce the person's body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath
It is important to note that one must NOT give fluids during such a situation.


Article by Dr. Amanulla M Beig, M.B.B.S,
Consultant Physician, CallHealth

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