In the past few days, we have experienced high temperatures that became a cause for health alarms to go off. The intense heat has triggered various medical problems such as headache, migraines, asthma attacks, and heat exhaustion or heatstroke. The first three conditions mentioned can be addressed by pills or OTC medicines and mild heat exhaustion may be treated with hydration, loosening of clothes and a cool rub down. On the other hand, heatstroke can be fatal and must be immediately treated by a medical professional.

Heatstroke is a medical condition wherein a person’s internal body temperature becomes abnormally high, reaching the point where brain damage or damage to other internal organs may occur. The unusually high body temperature is accompanied by physical and neurological symptoms. Infants, elderly and bed-ridden people are prone to this condition. Heatstroke symptoms include:

  1. Unconsciousness, a distinctly abnormal mental status, confusion, hallucinations, dizziness or coma.
  2. Flushed, hot and dry skin
  3. Slightly high blood pressure that falls afterwards
  4. hyperventilation
  5. A rectal core temperature of 105F or more.

When heatstroke strikes, call the paramedics immediately and move the patient to a cooler environment. The patient may be placed in a cool tub of water as long as he/she is conscious and supervised by a responsible adult. If a tub is not available, alternately dab lukewarm water on the skin and use a fan to blow cool air across the skin until the paramedics arrive.

In the prevention of heatstroke, it helps to keep tabs on the weather report to make sure that we don’t engage in strenuous activities in extremely hot and humid conditions. If the weather temperature forecast is higher than your normal body temperature then it’s best to stay indoors or in cool places especially during the hottest time of the day. Other things that we can do to avoid heatstroke are:

  • wear loose clothes during hot days
  • splurge on cold drinks or sports drinks, it will keep you cool and hydrated
  • bathe often or at least splash some cool water on your face from time to time