Preventing heat disorders

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During summer, susceptible children and adolescents can develop heat stroke, which can even lead to death if not identified and treated in time.
• The heat index is more important than the atmospheric temperature. A 42 degree temperature may feel like 46 degree if the heat index is high.

• Avoid prolonged exposure to sun when the temperature is high. Use an umbrella if you need to go out.

• Wear light cotton clothes to avoid heat absorption.

• Make sure that you are properly hydrated before you step out in the heat. The requirement of water in summer is 500 ml more than that in winter.

• Summer drinks should be refreshing and cool such as panna, khas khas, rose petal water, lemon water, bel sharbat and sattu sharbat.

• Any drink with more than 10% sugar becomes a soft drink and so should be avoided. Ideally, the percentage of sugar, jaggery or khand should be 3%, which is the percentage present in oral rehydration drink.

• You should pass urine at least once in 8 hours. This is a sign of adequate hydration.

• If you develop heat cramps, drink plenty of lemon water with sugar and salt.

• Heat exertion presents with fever and sweating. If you develop heat exertion, drink plenty of oral fluids, mixed with water, lemon and sugar. Presence of sweating is good sign.

• If a person develops high grade fever, i.e. more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit with dry armpits, this is a sign of impending heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. The temperature here may be more than 106 degree Fahrenheit. Fever should be brought down rapidly within minutes to save the life.

• People, who have been advised to restrict their fluid intake on medical grounds, should discuss their fluid requirement in summer with their doctor.