When your body loses more fluids than you take in, you become dehydrated and this is very common in summer. But dehydration can lead to very serious health problems and cause heat stroke, if not addressed on time.
While there are occasional reliefs in the form of rain and wind, summer is at its blazing best across the country. The Indian summer can be brutal and you have to take extra precautions to stay hydrated in this hot weather. Heat stroke is a major concern in the summer months. “Hydration is very important to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other side effects. So, we have to take care by just taking some extra fluids this season,” says Dr Mukesh Mehra, Director – Internal Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, Delhi.
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Dr Mehra says that problems like dehydration and other associated ailments related to heat exhaustion can turn very serious if not addressed on time. “When your body loses more fluids than you take in, you become dehydrated. And when you are dehydrated, your body is unable to function normally. And that dehydration and heatstroke are especially dangerous for young children, especially below five years,” says Dr Mehra.
Signs Of Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke
“The science of heat exhaustion should also be made known to people like nausea, vomiting, tiredness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, or a patient who is pale. If this becomes severe the victim might require hospitalization and IV fluids also an efficient suffering from hypertension or any heart condition. The person then always requires urgent medical attention,” shares Dr Mehra.
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Precautions To Take In Summer
Dr Mukesh Mehra has the following tips for people to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
1. People who are staying and working outside in the sun are required to take extra precautions. Protect your head from the sun and also if possible, use a small towel which has been soaked in water or try to keep some clothes under the hat.
2. It is very important to stay hydrated and drink as much water as needed in this current temperature. Carry water or some kind of fluid along with you all the time. If you use any chronic medication, you are supposed to drink more water. Avoid spaces where the sun is shining brightly if possible. Using rehydration solutions like ORS and others.
3. It is important to ensure that elderly people have access to water and parents or caregivers should also pay extra attention to younger children to make sure that they are hydrated. Babies who are breastfed should also be fed more frequently during hot temperatures. Try to keep your children indoors or in shades and also ask them to dress in light clothing and wipe them down with a damp cloth if outside. Parents should remember to keep children indoors, especially during peak heat hours between 11 am and 4 pm.
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Heat Stroke: When To Seek Medical Attention
Dr Mukesh Mehra says that parents should be on alert and if children have more than two watery stools or vomiting, or if they become lethargic, always try to seek medical attention. “During dehydration, one’s skin might become dry and the patient’s eyes might look sunken. So these patients will require urgent attention. Sports drinks or commercial oral rehydration solutions are also effective at times. And if the symptoms of dehydration worsen or the patient develops a high-grade fever, then urgent medical attention is also required,” shares Dr Mehra.
The doctor has a final word of advice. “I’ll suggest drinking additional water, maybe up to four litres of fluid in different forms – whether it is plain water, oral rehydration, fresh fruit juices, or some kind of non-aerated drinks. You can also regularly consume fruits that are composed of almost 90% or more than 90% of fluid only. It is also suggested to use umbrellas and hats if you have no options but to step out in the heat,” says Dr Mehra.