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Heatwave and your health: 5 crucial facts you need to know

Heatwave and your health: 5 crucial facts you need to know

Heatwave can lead to heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening condition. Here is all you need to know about how heat impacts your body and high risk factors of a heatstroke.

Heatwave and your health: 5 crucial facts you need to know

As we reel under COVID-19 pandemic and Amphan, Mother Nature hurls another dangerous challenge to us: Heatwave. This condition intensified in the Northern part of India, Churu (Rajasthan) being the hottest (45.6 degree Celsius). Also, the mercury touched the 46-degree mark in parts of Delhi. According to The India Meteorological Department (IMD), the temperatures are going to peak today. However, thunderstorms may bring some relief between May 29-30th. In the recent years, heatwave has emerged as a major threat to India, thanks to climate change. According to some estimates, in 2019 alone, as many as 23 states were affected. Weather experts predict that the number of heatwave days is going to increase in the near future. Also Read - Rising temperature could lead to heat stroke: Watch out for the warning signs and symptoms

Data suggests that India saw 6000 people losing life to heatwave since 2010 with maximum number of deaths occurring in 2015. That year, 2040 people died of heatwave. However, there are many more deaths caused by heatwave which are unrecorded. While we have data on the mortality rate of heatwaves and heat strokes, we still don’t know how many people lose their lives to overheating of body. This can also lead to potentially dangerous health conditions like organ failure, stroke, and cardiac arrest. Also Read - 6 essential oils to keep heatstroke at bay

Heatwave Affects Multiple Organs Of Your Body

When your body is exposed to heat for a long period of time, the first thing that happens is it loses the ability to sweat. Perspiration is our body’s mechanism to keep us cool. So, if you are unable to sweat, there’s a chance of heatstroke from heat exhaustion.  Your central nervous system and blood circulatory systems are also affected by rising temperatures of the body. Also Read - 6 surprising symptoms of a heat stroke
Heatwave and your health: 5 crucial facts you need to know

Signs Of Heat Exhaustion

When heat exhausts your body, you get rashes and muscle cramps. There could be various reasons behind your aching muscles. One of them is that they are not getting enough supply of electrolytes. Watch out for other symptoms like red and dry skin and address them as early as possible to avoid further complications.

Heat Exhaustion Vs. Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion is a condition that when there is excessive heat generation in your body. Heatstroke is the next stage when your body is unable to regulate its temperature. This can be fatal. The manifestations of heat exhaustion include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, heavy sweating, and headache. The warning signs of a heatstroke, which can make you unconscious are muscle cramping, fast heart beat, vomiting, flushed skin, headache, and mental confusion. Reach out for emergency health care if you experience any of these symptoms. A cold bath can come to your rescue if you are going through heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Also, you need to keep yourself well-hydrated during the summer and rely on foods that keep your body temperature from soaring. These could be effective preventive measures.

High Risk Factors For Heatstroke

There are various factors that can increase your risk of suffering a heatstroke. One of those factors is age. Elderly people and infants fall in the high-risk group for this condition. The metabolic rate of children is high which makes their body generate heat constantly. Moreover, their perspiration capacity isn’t as high as adults. These factors make kids more vulnerable to heatstroke. Additionally, obese and immobile people are also more likely to be affected by heat. People living with multiple sclerosis, a neurological disorder, also have a high chance of falling prey to heatwave.

Some Medicines Can Up Your Risk Too

Studies suggest that some medications can make you incapable of dealing with a heatwave. They include diuretics for high blood pressure, beta blockers, medicines for allergy and seizure. Talk to your doctor for heat precautions if you are taking these drugs. Research also studies suggest that mental health medication, especially those for depression can also up your risk of heatstroke.

By: Saswati Sarkar 

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