What To Do When Heat Stroke Strikes You

Published July 19th, 2010 - 11:59 GMT

It's expected to be an unusual hot summer after a heat wave has tightened its grip around Saudi Arabia and the Middle East last week. Heat strokes are among the most common conditions during extreme temperatures.

"Heat stroke is a life-threatening illness characterized by an elevated core body temperature that rises above 40°C and central nervous system dysfunction that results in delirium, convulsions or coma," said Sherif Mahmoud Affifi, health expert at Bupa Arabia."Bupa Arabia especially wants to raise awareness among risk groups such as elderly people over 65 years of age, infants and children and people with chronic medical conditions."

Overweight People may be prone to heat strokes because of their tendency to retain more body heat. Also people who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and suffer a heat stroke.

Therefore fluid intake during hot weather needs to be increased. Heavy sweating also removes essential salt and minerals from the body and must be replaced. Generally it is recommended to stay indoors, preferably in air-conditioned places. If outdoors, the head should be always covered and sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher applied 30 minutes prior to going out to protect the body from harmful UV-radiation which can cause cancer.

"The typical signs for heat stroke are an extremely high body temperature, no sweat, rapid and strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea and unconsciousness." Affifi said. He continued" If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should seek immediate medical assistance"

It is important to try to cool down the affected person by either showering him with cold water or move him to a shaded area as quickly as possible. However, the most important thing for the victim is not to drink.

Sometimes the victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, the affected person should be prevented from injuring himself, however, no objects should be placed in the mouth or fluids applied. If there is vomiting, the airways should remain open by turning the affected person on his or her side.

If emergency medical personnel are delayed, hospitals should be consulted for further instructions. Bupa Arabia members benefit from the insurance's helpline that operates 24 hours 7 days a week. They also can seek advice and assistance from the Doctor on the Phone service or Bupa Arabia's website www.bupa.com.sa. By taking care of the lives in its hands, Bupa Arabia fulfill its promise to be the healthcare partner for life through its medical expertise and high level of performance as an innovator and champion of its customers. 

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