Heat Stroke- An Acute Medical Emergency In Summer Months

The entire country is sweating excessively these days as the mercury level is rising beyond expectation. The situation is worsening in northern, central and western India. The advent of summer witnessed three casualties in Maharashtra followed by two more in the month of March. In certain areas in India, heat stroke is a severe kind of medical emergency that starts with the arrival of the hot summer season as there is a significant surge in temperature over the last 6-7 years. The country has witnessed a 61% increase in heat stroke casualties over the last 10 years. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), scorching heat wave will continue to prevail all through summer this year with average temperature to be around 460C in national capital region and central India while the western regions are expected to experience an average of 490C, which is nearly 50C above normal temperature in most states in the period of May-June.

Heat stroke is a fatal outcome of this heat spell. Hospitals are attending numerous heatstroke patients in every district. Children and elderly people above 50 years of age are most prone to heat stroke; however, doctors are advising everyone to adapt enough preventive measures to avoid heat stroke. The main reasons behind heat stroke are dehydration and increase in body temperature beyond a normal temperature which is 370C. With the increase in summer temperature, more cases with heat-related health problems are coming up in the hospitals which turn crucial if not treated at an early stage.

Heat strokes mainly happen due to prolonged exposure to summer sun along with low fluid level in the body. The most common symptoms of heat stroke are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart beat
  • High fever beyond 1040C
  • No sweating
  • Unconsciousness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Heat burn
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures

Human bodies regulate its temperature by sweating. So when there is a scarcity of fluid level in the body along with too much exposure to heat, the aftermaths of heat related issues become prominent. It is highly recommended to increase fluid intake in summer days to maintain a standard fluid level in body that can combat heat stroke.

This year, a number of heat stroke cases are handled at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences and according to their medical records, the number has increased appreciably than last year. Dr. D.K. Kesar, Chairman- Internal Medicine stated that recently they have received a heat stroke case of an elderly person of 75 years age suffering from 1070C. If immediate treatment is not initiated on such patients, internal organs like kidney, heart, etc. will be severely affected. He has also advised avoiding outdoor activities in between 11 AM to 4 PM as much as possible during hot summer days. But as complete avoidance is not possible, he has shared some health tips which are as follows:

  • Increase the liquid intake on daily basis
  • Add more of fruits in your diet plan, especially citrus fruits
  • Keep one onion in your diet plan regularly
  • Always carry water whenever you are travelling
  • Make a regular practice of using umbrella, sunglasses, caps etc.
  • Wear loose clothes for better air circulation and stay covered
  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out
  • Avoid street food, cut and open fruits/vegetables

Even if you find someone suffering from heat stroke, apply lot of cold water on his head, chest and forehead as an emergency medical aid before shifting him to the nearby hospital. It is very important to take care of yourself to take care of others.

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors