Prevent Sun Stroke With These Handy Tips
When the sun blazes down mercilessly, we tend to wish for winter when it is more clement. While anyone needs a measure of heat to manage daily activities, and one’s chores without the body giving up; it is all too easy to get too much of a good thing. There is only so much heat your body can take without any adverse reaction.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUN STROKE AND HEAT STROKE
Shockingly, there are quite a few people who confuse sun burn as sun stroke. Sun burn is an adverse reaction of the skin to exposure to the sun. Yet, a nasty sun burn could actually be a prelude to a sun stroke as the affected part of the skin doesn’t perspire to cause natural cooling. If untreated, or not allowed to heal properly, the sun burn could progress to a melanoma, or skin cancer.
ARE YOU CONFUSED BETWEEN SUN STROKE AND HEAT STROKE?
Don’t be. Heat stroke used to be called sun stroke as popular perception was that over exposure to the sun caused the conditions identified as sun stroke or heat stroke. Unless there has been any direct exposure to the sun, most doctors prefer to call it heat stroke. However, it is easy to confuse heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
IDENTIFY WHEN IT IS HEAT EXHAUSTION, AND WHEN IT’S A HEAT STROKE
When your body is unable to cool down naturally to counter external heat, it causes several conditions ranging from breathlessness; skin rash, or red hot, dry skin; general disorientation; dizziness; very fast or very slow heart beats; muscular cramps with diarrhea and/or vomiting; to lack of sweating, and even fainting. Usually, severe throbbing headaches and very high fever distinguish heat stroke from heat exhaustion. If you or someone around you suffer from the last two conditions along with some or all of the earlier mentioned symptoms, rush to the hospital or other reliable medical facility.
SUN STROKE COULD COST YOU YOUR LIFE
Sun stroke should never be taken lightly as it could cost a person his/her life. If nothing else, there could be long-term damage to the central nervous system (CNS). Even someone undertaking a long train journey in a general or sleeper class compartment in summer, or during the monsoons, could get heat stroke without any direct exposure to the sun. Crowded compartments are hot even in winter. In summer, with the sun’s rays beating down mercilessly on the roof of the compartments; the heat levels get intolerable. Without sufficient cooling agents like cooling drinks and food at hand, any person could fall grievously ill.
TAKE THESE PREVENTIVE STEPS
You can prevent getting a sun stroke. Always be adequately hydrated, and prevent dehydration. It is simplistic to suggest staying indoors during late morning and most of the afternoon. Professionals, business folk, students, sports persons, even home makers need to go out in the sun for varying reasons — most of them unavoidable. Therefore, just take these precautions.
- Always carry a wide-brimmed umbrella or parasol to cover yourself, and guard against direct exposure to the sun’s rays.
- Use a sunscreen to protect your skin from the lethal UV rays of the sun.
- Wear sunshades to protect your eyes.
- Ideally, wear light cotton clothes. If that isn’t practicable, make sure that the material used “breathes” the way cotton does. It should absorb the perspiration, and cool the surface of your skin when it breathes, i.e. evaporates.
- Loose fitting, light colored and whites are the clothes which will give your body a chance to stay cool naturally.
- Drink plenty of plain cool (not chilled) water.
- Regularly sip supplemental fluids like fruit juices, sorbets made of mint leaf and coriander leaf extracts, eat fruits like plums, watermelons, and cucumbers which are largely composed of water to ensure that you are always hydrated appropriately.
- Adding curds, and curd based cold drinks like chhach and lassi to your daily diet are a very good idea as they are natural coolants.
- Food stuffs like poppy seeds, lemon juice, tamarind, mint leaf, fennel seed, and coconut water should be used regularly during the summer and monsoons to keep your body cool.
- Apricots are known to conserve the water in the body, and should be incorporated in one’s diet regularly.
AVOID THESE THINGS TO PREVENT DEHYDRATION
Dehydration is avoidable. Tea, coffee, alcohol, carbonated cold drinks, cranberry juice, parsley, caraway seed, dandelion, and horsetail have been known to improve elimination of urine. These natural diuretics can cause dehydration. If you are in a kind of situation where you might suffer from dehydration, drink/eat any of these with caution.
NATURAL REMEDIES TO OVERCOME HEAT EXHAUSTION
Several natural remedies to ward off heat exhaustion are available. Jasmine flowers have been known to have coolant properties from time immemorial. Soaking them in boiling water to make a tea, or in very hot sugared water to make a sherbet are options to rehydrate, and cool your body fast without creating a shock. The juice of green mangoes, green coconut water, infusion of sugar rock (misri), and onion juice fight heat exhaustion.
Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors