As you all may already be aware, a severe heat wave has affected many states in India with temperatures already ranging from 43-48 degree Celsius, and it is expected to continue in the coming months. Exposure to excessive temperatures for a sustained period can pose health risks ranging from relatively mild rashes and sunburn up to heat stroke – a medical emergency.
Following are a few dos and don’ts for your consideration to stay safe this summer:
Health Impact of a Heat Wave
The health impact of heat waves typically involves dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. The signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Heat Cramps: Ederna (swelling) and Syncope (fainting) generally accompanied by fever
- Heat Exhaustion: Fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating
- Heat Stroke: Body temperatures of 104 degree Fahrenheit or more along with delirium, seizures or coma. This is a potential fatal condition.
- Avoid staying outdoors, especially when the sun is the strongest (between 10 am and 4 pm).
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Use air conditioning and fans to reduce exposure to sustained high temperatures.
- Wear loose, cool clothing that covers the body.
- Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
- Protect the face and eyes. Wear a hat and UV filtering sunglasses.
- In case of heat rash, alleviate the discomfort by keeping cool and bathing often. If the rash is itchy, please seek medical help.
- Rest immediately if you begin to feel weak or dizzy. Lie down in a cool, shaded place and seek medical assistance if symptoms persist.
- Avoid caffeinated, sugary, alcoholic drinks.
- Avoid excess physical activity.
- Do not send children or pets out in the sun or leave them in closed vehicles.
- Avoid wearing dark, heavy or tight clothing.
Stay safe and stay indoors.