Tips to avoid heat stroke this summer

18 April 2011

Tips to avoid heat stroke this summer
Drink lots of water and stay in the shade to avoid heat stroke.

By Anna Valmero

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— Sunny days are welcomed by Filipinos who love the beach and outdoors, but try not to stay too long under the scorching heat of the sun to avoid heat stroke.

“Drink plenty of water and avoid too much exposure during midday so you will not have heat stroke and sunburn,” advised Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health.

Heat stroke happens when a body's temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius coupled with fever, headache, and feeling very thirsty. It is one of six common summer diseases, including sunburn, sore eyes, and diarrhea.

While almost everyone is prone to heat stroke, infants and the elderly are the most vulnerable to heat stroke and other summer diseases, thus they should avoid stay outdoors during midday.

Instead, let them be in a well-ventilated area especially during noon, said Tayag.

Here are some more tips to avoid heat stroke.

Drink eight to 13 glasses of water. Water cleanses the body and keeps you rehydrated, especially during the summer months. “Don't wait for yourself to be thirsty before drinking water as it is important for bodily functions,” Tayag said.

Stay indoors from 10am to 4pm. During midday, the temperature is at its highest. Everyone, especially the elderly and infants, should stay in a well-ventilated area. If you have to go outside, try to avoid too much exposure under the sun and protect yourself using sunscreen lotion or sprays on your face and skin, and wear sunglasses.

Avoid staying too long in parking spaces. Parking lots in the country have poor ventilation and thus, staying too long there can cause heat stroke. As soon as you park your car, stay out of the area.

Don't exercise too much under the sun. Getting fit through exercise is good. Too much exercise and exposure under the sun, however, is a bad idea because you are exposing yourself to dehydration and heat stroke, Tayag said. Choose green spaces such as parks for jogging or running early in the morning or late afternoon. Keep a water bottle handy to rehydrate yourself.

Watch out for symptoms especially for the elderly. Warning signs of heat stroke include heat exhaustion, fever, headache, and very concentrated or yellow urine. In worse cases, a person can have absence of sweat, shortness of breath and sometimes collapse.

“Watch out for these signs especially for the elderly who may mistake it for an increase in blood pressure. Absence of sweat is a bad sign. Cool them down using cold compress or sponge bath, then bring them immediately to the doctor,” Tayag said.

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