Soaking under the sun is fun, especially if you’re doing enjoyable outdoor activities like swimming, extreme sports, or even just walking around with your friends. Getting enough sunlight is even recommended for the body, to get the much needed Vitamin D. Being under the sun is unavoidable, but do you know that too much of it can be bad for you?
Too much heat, whether from the sun or other sources, can cause a serious condition called heat stroke. Of all the heat illnesses today, this is the most severe. Heat stroke or sunstroke is the advanced state of hyperthermia, or heat exhaustion. This happens when the body takes in more heat than it can dissipate. The body’s heat-regulating mechanisms are overwhelmed and the temperature rises uncontrollably, up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Most heat stroke cases happen to people who do strenuous activities or exercise while under the sun, or while in places with high temperature levels. This problem needs immediate treatment, because if it worsens, other dangerous complications can arise, like loss of consciousness, seizure, or even coma. If you or someone with you is having a heat stroke, here are some tips to get the body back to normal.
Symptoms Of Heatstroke
Spotting heat stroke condition immediately is very important when treating this ailment. Here are some common symptoms to look for.
- Red and flushed skin
- No body sweating, despite the heat
- Body temperature reaching 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) or higher
- Rapid pulse
- Confusion and strange behavior
- Shallow and rapid breathing
If you or another person experience one or more of these conditions, then you’re at heat stroke risk. Have someone call 911, and at the same time, try these tactics to dismiss or prevent the ailment from getting worse.
Get Some Shade
The primary first-aid tactic when it comes to heat stroke is to get out of the heat source. In that case, you should move out of the sun. Go indoors and stay in a well-ventilated or air-conditioned (AC) room to bring your body temperature back to normal. If there’s no indoor area nearby, under some trees will do. An area with plenty of airspace is also ideal, to let the body cool itself naturally.
Sometimes, heat stroke can happen when you’re indoors, when the room is too stuffy and warm. When this happens, open the doors and indoors, to let in some air. It’s also recommended to always have a fan or AC ready when the dry and hot season begins, so you can avoid heat stroke occurrences.
After getting out of the heat, the next step to treat heat stroke is to cool down your body and lower the body temperature. If you’re wearing tight or thick clothing, take them off immediately, to let your body get some air. Try not to move too much, to avoid sweating.
You can also use water to cool down. Bathe in cool, but not ice-cold, water. If you feel too weak to bathe, just get a cold compress and apply it to your head, torso, neck and groin. Focus on the most heated parts of the body. For added relief, stand in front of a fan to help the water evaporate. Using a hypothermia vest is also a practical option. Another effective method is to wrap your body in a wet sheet. This promotes heat loss better.
Using water is great, but whatever happens, never resort to alcohol rubs. These only cause impairment of consciousness and further dehydration.
Heat stroke occurs when there’s not enough fluids to curb high body temperature, so ingesting as much liquids as you can is a good tactic. If you’re still strong enough, drink some fluids. Plain water is good, but sports drinks also work wonders, because they contain more electrolytes. Gulp the drink down every few minutes, until you feel yourself getting better. As soon as the fluid level in the body is balanced, your condition will start to improve.
Just because liquid is important doesn’t mean you can swallow any kind of drink you lay your hands on. There are some beverages you must stay away from, because they can worsen your condition. Don’t drink alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, because these make you dehydrated. The same goes with sugary drinks. Stick to plain and clean water, or sports drink.
Get Proper Treatment
After applying these first aid tactics, you must now get proper and professional help for heat stroke. Without medical aid, heat stroke can be fatal. If you haven’t called 911 yet, ask someone to rush you or the ailing person to the emergency room as soon as possible. Advanced medical treatment helps prevent further danger and counters the negative effects of the condition.
Preventing Heat Stroke
While facing and solving heat stroke seems easy, it’s much better if you can completely avoid it. After all, no one wants to be put under that kind of danger. Remember these simple tips to ward off this health dilemma.
- Avoid the sun during very hot days. Stay indoors as much as possible, in a cool and well-ventilated room.
- Watch what you drink. Not all liquids give your body the fluids it needs. Avoid dehydrating liquids on hot days, especially those with large amounts of caffeine, sugar or alcohol.
- Wear the right clothing. Loose-fitting clothes are more practical during hot weather, compared to tight ones. Light colored outfits are better, since they let the body breath and cool down. When you’re going out, wear a hat to protect your head, but if you feel yourself getting too warm, then take it off. Head garments only trap more heat in your body.
- Work outdoors during the cooler times of the day. Instead of doing all the heavy outdoors work in the afternoon, do it in the morning or at dusk.
- Rehydrate. Drink at least eight glasses of water everyday. Sports drinks are also great, especially in very hot weather.
- Cool yourself. Take cool baths regularly, especially during the summer season. Stay under shade as much as you can.
Learn To Limit Yourself
Some people are simply uncontrollable, choosing to work under the hot sun even though it’s dangerous for them. The result? They end up being rushed to the hospital because of heat stroke. Aside from all these prevention and treatment tactics, one very important way to stay away from heat stroke is learn to control yourself. Don’t work under the sun unless you have to, and when you’re starting to feel lightheaded and warm, rest for a while and go under some shade.
The same goes for those who like having fun under the sun. Hanging out the the beach, going biking, or jogging under bright and warm sunshine is irresistible, but no matter how good the weather is, try to lessen the time you spend under the heat. You’ll get more than a tan if you don’t control yourself.
Feeling warm under the sun is always a gorgeous feeling, but if you’re not careful, it can lead to heat stroke. Remember these the next time you’re out in hot weather, so you’ll be able to avoid or cure this dangerous dilemma.
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