May is just around the corner and we know what it means! Yes, the sun would make our lives terrible. While we can have fun at mango festivals and chill with summer coolers, it is always a good idea to be prepared with the adverse effects that summers bring in India.
There are a few different forms of heat-related illnesses. Heat cramps are usually considered mild, and can be treated with liquids and going into a cool environment. More severe is heat exhaustion, which involves elevation of body temperature, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. And then there is heatstroke, which is the most life-threatening. Heatstroke resembles heat exhaustion but may additionally involve neurological symptoms such as confusion and dizziness, or even coma. The body can no longer sweat, and internal temperature skyrockets. A normal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but in heatstroke, the body can warm up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in 10 to 15 minutes.
More than 1,600 people died due to extreme weather conditions across the country last year, with severe heat wave claiming the largest chunk of the total deaths at 40%, followed by flooding and lightning.
To protect yourself, try to avoid strenuous physical activity outside during the hottest time of the day — between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. People who must work outside should make sure they drink plenty of water every half-hour or so and take breaks in a cool environment if possible. Wearing lightweight, light-colored, clothing and a cap also help.
Loo is a strong, hot and dry summer afternoon wind from the west which blows over the western Indo-Gangetic Plain region of North India and Pakistan. It is especially strong in the months of May and June. Due to its very high temperatures (45 °C–50 °C or 115°F-120°F), exposure to it may lead to heatstrokes. Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia in which the body temperature is elevated dramatically. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. The cause of heat stroke is an elevation in body temperature, often accompanied by dehydration.
Infants, the elderly, athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke. Leaving infants, children, or animals in cars poses a risk for heat stroke. In particular, infants or young children who are unattended in locked a car may suffer heat-related illness quickly, since the indoor temperature of a locked car can rise to dangerous levels even in moderate weather.
The earlier signs of headache, dizziness, and tiredness often lead to high fever. The patient is troubled by intense weakness and their physical and mental health is badly affected. Some other obvious symptoms of the Loo include the hot, dry and reddish skin. When someone is exposed to Loo, the blood flow in their circulatory system is accelerated accompanied by frequent urination and faintness. The rate of heart beat increases and you experience deep troubling sensation in your heart. As the water content of your body decreases, there is a shortage of fluid in the intestines. Such a condition leads to irritation in the bowels and increases acidity in the stomach which, ultimately, results in vomiting.
Victims of heat stroke must receive immediate treatment to avoid permanent organ damage. First and foremost, cool the victim. Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin, fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation, and place ice packs under the armpits and groin. If the person is able to drink liquids, have them drink cool water or other cool beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine. Monitor body temperature with a thermometer and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101 to 102 F (38.3 to 38.8 C). And last but not the least; seek medical advice at the earliest. You can also read our article on summer foods and get an idea on how to keep oneself hydrated at all times.