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In summer, one must be aware of the risks of heatstroke and its related problems in order to prevent them.
In summer, the hot sun rays do the body and soul a world of good. However, one must be aware that excess heat and humidity can predispose a person to, and even cause, health problems. Here are some examples:
This text specifically focuses on insolation, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
The human body is equipped with certain mechanisms that maintain its internal thermal balance at roughly 37°C. A certain temperature variation can be tolerated by a healthy adult without it really affecting him/her. However, during periods of scorching or extreme heat, the body may have trouble cooling down and maintaining its temperature within a normal range. This is especially true in the presence of the following factors:
When the body "overheats", this can lead to difficulties that are manifested by symptoms. In the worst cases, it can be life-threatening.
Insolation is caused by the sun's direct effect on the head and most often occurs in children after direct sun exposure. It is characterized by intense headaches, nausea, drowsiness, fever, burned skin, etc. Loss of consciousness is possible.
Heat exhaustion occurs following excessive electrolyte (salt) and fluid loss caused by exposure to heat over a prolonged period. This leads to decreased blood volume and can cause various symptoms: fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, insomnia, agitation, dizziness, fainting, collapsing, etc.
Heatstroke can occur when the internal body temperature rapidly increases beyond the body's control. If the body temperature reaches or goes beyond 40°C, several symptoms are possible: hot, red and dry skin, violent headaches, confusion, convulsions, fainting, coma, etc. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and the risk of death must be considered.
Some individuals are more vulnerable to the effects of overheating. For example, this is the case for the following people:
Caution: taking certain medications can predispose a person to heat-related illnesses. For example, this can be the case for certain antihypertensive drugs and medications used for cardiac or psychiatric problems. Ask your pharmacist for information.
Here are some tips to prevent heat-related health problems:
For vulnerable individuals (e.g., children, the sick or the elderly), additional measures must be considered. Ask your healthcare professional for information.
If you suspect that a person is suffering from insolation, heat exhaustion or heatstroke, consult a healthcare professional to confirm a diagnosis and to get adequate care. In the presence of the slightest alarming symptom or when in doubt, bring the person to the emergency room immediately. This could be a medical emergency.
Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about heat-related health problems and preventive measures.
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