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Dhaka Tribune

How to treat heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses

  • Heatstroke requires immediate treatment
  • Body temperature reaches 40°C or higher
  • Excessive hard work in higher temperatures can cause illness
Update : 25 Apr 2024, 03:15 PM

As Bangladesh swelters, the risk of heat-related illnesses like heatstroke has become a significant concern.

Heatstroke is a serious condition that requires immediate attention and treatment, and recognizing its symptoms and knowing how to respond can be life-saving.

Let us delve into understanding heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses, along with appropriate treatment measures.

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature.

A person can experience heatstroke if their body temperature reaches 40°C or higher in about 10 to 15 minutes.

It is a medical emergency that can result in heatstroke and can lead to serious disability or death if the person does not receive immediate treatment.

Symptoms

  • High body temperature
  • Mental instability such as confusion, agitation, slurred speech
  • Skin may feel hot and dry to the touch due to lack of sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Treatment

  • If you suspect someone has had a heatstroke, call for immediate medical help.
  • Get the person indoors or into shade immediately.
  • While waiting for medical help, cool the person rapidly using any means available, such as by putting the person in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spraying the person with a garden hose or sponge the person with cool water, or using a fan to help lower body temperature.
  • Always check the person's temperature and be ready to do CPR.

Preventing heat-related illnesses

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Stay indoors around midday to late afternoon and minimize outside activity to avoid heatstroke.
  • Wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes, which will help keep your body cool.
  • If working or exercising outdoors, take shaded or indoor breaks often.

Other illnesses

Apart from heatstroke, heat exhaustion and cramps are some heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion is less severe than heatstroke but can worsen. Heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea and headache are its symptoms. Excessive hard work in higher temperatures can cause heat cramps and severe muscle spasms.

When to seek medical attention

Take caution if you or someone else has heat-related illness or heatstroke. If symptoms arise and you are unable to cool down within 30 minutes, seek medical attention.

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