The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) recently warned the public to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress. There are many forms of heat injuries but heat stroke is most likely to occur this season.
Heat stroke is a condition caused by your body overheating for about 40 degrees celsius or higher, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to physical activities in high temperatures. It may result from a mild heat related concerns such as heat cramps, heat syncope and heat exhaustion. This serious condition requires emergency treatment otherwise this can damage vital organs in the body such as your brain, heart, kidney and muscles. Time of treatment is crucial because the longer it takes to treat the person the more damage will most likely occur.
People over age 50 are the commonly affected by heat stroke but it also affects healthy young athletes. Manifestations of heat stroke shows signs of dehydration with a core body temperature of 40.5 degrees Celsius. Fainting may be the first obvious sign. Other symptoms may include a throbbing headache, dizziness and light headedness, lack of sweating despite the heat, red, hot, dry skin, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, rapid shallow breathing, behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering, seizures and unconsciousness.
To combat heatstroke, rapid cooling is essential. Immediately cool the affected while waiting for emergency treatment. Make sure to place the person into the nearest shade or indoors, loosen tight clothing, remove extra clothing, cool the person with whatever means available like bathing a person with cool water, fan the person while misting with cold water or place ice pack or wet towels to important body parts such as the persons head, neck, armpits and groin. Also, keep in mind that hydration is an utmost importance in cooling the patient.
This summer, the Department of Health (DOH) is once again advising everyone to take the ideal amount of water intake at least 8 glasses a day in order to prevent dehydration, wear loose and comfortable clothing and avoid too much exposure to the sun.