The Danger of Heat Stroke
It's nearly the end of summer here in thePhilippines but still the heat remains unbearable. The recent news reports about the continued rise in the temperature and although there have been occasional rains; it was not enough to bring down the temperature to a tolerable level. With the rising heat, the Department of Health warned of diseases and the danger of heat stroke.
Just recently there was also a news report about the athletes in the on-going Palarong Pambansa (an annual national sports competition of athletes from different high schools in the Philippines) who had heat stroke while warming up before a game or during the actual game. Because of the unfortunate incidents, the game schedules were rearranged so that there will be no outdoor games scheduled between 10Am and 2Pm, the hottest hours of the day.
It is therefore important to note that heat stroke is considered as a medical emergency and will become fatal if not treated properly.
Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia wherein the body is not able to dissipate the heat as it normally does due to extreme heat, high humidity and vigorous physical exertion under the sun. Heat stroke may also be due to dehydration. When a person is dehydrated the body may not be able to sweat enough to dissipate the heat which will cause the body temperature to rise abnormally and will have an effect on the internal organs.
It is unfortunate that those that are prone to heat stroke are those who are very young and the elderly. Infants, the elderly people most especially those who have heart ailments, athletes and individuals whose daily activities require them to be out under the sun are susceptible to the dangers of heat stroke.
To prevent heat stroke it is important to avoid doing activities outdoor under the extreme heat of the summer sun. If it cannot be avoided, then make sure that you are properly hydrated. Remember to drink lots of fluid to replace the water being sweated out by the body; if possible the fluids that you take should have electrolytes to replenish the ones that are lost through excessive sweating. Avoid beverages that have caffeine in them since caffeine is known as a diuretic, it will make your body lose more liquid and thus become dehydrated. It is equally important to wear loose clothes and sun protective gears such as a wide brimmed hat.
If a person is suffering from heat stroke, the most common symptoms will be high temperature, the absence of sweat with flushed skin rapid pulse, difficulty in breathing, strange behavior, hallucination, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure and even becoming comatose.
When heat stroke happens, the first thing that should be done is to cool down the victim. Bring the victim to a shady area and loosen or better yet remove clothing. Spray or apply cool water on the victim and put ice packs in the victim's groin area and under the armpits. If the victim can take in fluids, allow them to sip cool water or energy drink. Do not give liquids that contain caffeine. Call or seek immediate medical assistance.
The summer season may be fun but it is imperative for people to know about the dangers that extreme heat can bring.