Beating the heat is no big sweat

DUBAI With summer fun comes summer ailments. Heat-related illnesses strike when the body is unable to cope with high temperatures and cannot cool itself, resulting in heat stroke, exhaustion, sunburn and other health issues. Here’s what to watch out for and what precautions to take. Heat exhaustion/stroke Walking outdoors for a long time, overworking yourself while exercising indoors or outdoors or, in the case of children, playing outdoors can be risky. “Continuous sweating can dehydrate you. If you feel dizzy, suffer headaches and nausea it means you are suffering from an electrolyte imbalance. This condition has to be stabilised immediately,” says Ajay Chaturvedi, a Dubai-based emergency medical instructor. Loosen clothing, make the person lie down on a flat surface, raise the legs 6-12 inches above ground and place a cool pack on head and torso. Give him fluids like water, lemon juice. If the condition persists take him to a doctor immediately. “If left untreated, heat exhaustion could end in heat stroke. The body temperature rises sharply and aggressive cooling is needed. Apply a cool pack to the neck, under-arms and groin, but do not place ice directly on the skin, it could cause hypothermia. The situation may become life threatening if it’s not brought under control,” Chaturvedi says. Precautions: Wear light clothes and keep your head covered whenever outdoors. Take rest for short intervals in shaded areas and drink plenty of fluids. Bleeding from nose Often small blood vessels in the nose rupture when the weather is too hot. If a person suffers from nose bleeding, make him sit with his head in a forward position and pinch the nostrils to stop blood flow. “People make the mistake of bending head backward when there’s nose bleeding, but that’s not good, it makes the blood flow to the throat. The head should always be bent forward,” Chaturvedi advises. A cool pack can be applied to the head and nose for about 10 minutes, but not longer. Precautions: Stay hydrated. If your suffer nose bleeds indoors because of dry air from air conditioning, use a lotion to keep the nostrils moist. Food-borne illnesses If a person starts vomiting, feels discomfort in the stomach, and if the problem starts within an hour after a meal, it means you are suffering due to food contamination. This is due to improper storage of food in summer. Keep hydrated if you have been vomiting or suffering loose motions. “As much as possible try to eat home-cooked meals,” advises Dr Chacko George, Internal Medicine Specialist, RAK Hospital, RAK. Precautions: Keep cold foods at minus five degrees. When temperatures are above 32C, food should not sit out for over an hour.