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As a severe and searing heatwave sweeps across India, it’s important to be on top of your well-being to avoid health complications. While temperatures in the capital city are crossing the 40-degree Celsius and power supply issues are becoming rampant, you should know how to avoid heatstroke.

Usually, people are well-prepared for the summer season and the scorching sun that it comes with, but in the past 2 years, a lot of people have mostly remained indoors. That has also reduced their heat tolerance. Now that offices are functional in full capacity or in the hybrid model, and children are back to school, it’s vital to be mindful of sun exposure, as well as what you eat, drink and do.

summer heat
According to the India Meteorological Department, the temperature is only poised to rise over the weekend. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Due to lockdown, travel restrictions and work-from-home culture, tolerance levels to heat and humidity may have substantially lowered in people. But with adequate precaution, people can easily beat the heat and prevent health complications such as Heatstroke which could arise due altered ‘Effort Tolerance’,” Dr Akshay Deodhar, In-Charge, Accident and Emergency, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, tells Health Shots.

Effort Tolerance refers to the effort or exercise tolerance that represents an individual’s ability to endure the stress of his or her efforts or exercise. The tolerance or endurance levels reduce in absence of frequent exercise or movement and can cause additional strain on performing even the mundane moments or activities. That is why it could prove all the more exhaustive and tiring.

Such people, who have avoided exposure to harsh sunlight or any form of exercise in past two years, need to take additional precautions and start minimal exercise to maintain a healthy body and combat heatstroke.

heatwave in India
Avoid direct sun exposure. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a condition in which the environmental temperature is equal to or more than the body’s temperature, as a result of which, the body fails to cool down or exert heat, explains Dr Deodhar.

“When the body’s temperature rises above 40 degree Celsius due to prolonged exposure to extreme heat, the individual can suffer a heatstroke,” he adds.

How can an untreated heatstroke affect you?

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, a heatstroke can lead to confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech, loss of consciousness (coma), hot and dry skin or profuse sweating, seizures, very high body temperature and it can also be fatal if the treatment is delayed.

Dr Deodhar says a severe heatstroke has the capacity to quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. “If the treatment is delayed or left untreated, heatstroke can increase the risk of serious complications to the heart, kidneys, brain and could turn fatal,” he adds.

To know how to save your heart from the heatwave, watch this interesting video by Health Shots.

How to avoid heatstroke complications?

There may be situations when individuals can’t avoid venturing outdoor in such hot and humid climate.

* Keep drinking water at specific intervals, and stay hydrated
* Reduce intake of carbonated drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee, which reduce the body’s water levels
* Infuse drinking water with cucumber or mint which are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Try some healthy and cooling summer drinks
* Wear cotton-made, light-coloured and loose clothes
* Protect your eyes with sunglasses
* Use caps, hats or umbrellas to protect your head and hair, as well as to avoid direct exposure to harsh sunlight.
* Take normal or cold cold water baths during the period to maintain a cooler body temperature.
* Maintain a healthy summer diet.

So dear ladies, whether you are stepping out yourself, or a family member, keep these factors in mind to avoid heatstroke.

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