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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Preventing heat disorders

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India

During summer, susceptible children and adolescents can develop heat stroke, which can even lead to death if not identified and treated in time.

*The heat index is more important than the atmospheric temperature. A 42 degree temperature may feel like 46 degree if the heat index is high.
*Avoid prolonged exposure to sun when the temperature is high. Use an umbrella if you need to go out.
*Wear light cotton clothes to avoid heat absorption.
*Make sure that you are properly hydrated before you step out in the heat. The requirement of water in summer is 500 ml more than that in winter.
*Summer drinks should be refreshing and cool such as panna, khas khas, rose petal water, lemon water, bel sharbat and sattu sharbat.

*Any drink with more than 10% sugar becomes a soft drink and so should be avoided. Ideally, the percentage of sugar, jaggery or khand should be 3%, which is the percentage present in oral rehydration drink.
*You should pass urine at least once in 8 hours. This is a sign of adequate hydration.
*If you develop heat cramps, drink plenty of lemon water with sugar and salt.
*Heat exertion presents with fever and sweating. If you develop heat exertion, drink plenty of oral fluids, mixed with water, lemon and sugar. Presence of sweating is good sign.
*If a person develops high grade fever, i.e. more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit with dry armpits, this is a sign of impending heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. The temperature here may be more than 106 degree Fahrenheit. Fever should be brought down rapidly within minutes to save the life.
*People, who have been advised to restrict their fluid intake on medical grounds, should discuss their fluid requirement in summer with their doctor.

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