June 4, 2010

Treatment and Prevention from Heat Related Sickness

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Like any working machine that produces heat, cooling it is a necessity to keep it running in good condition. Similarly our body also needs to be kept at an optimum temperature for us to function normally. The body has its own method of regulating temperature which is quite a complex process. Essentially, we sweat when the body temperature is above normal; this sweat comes out of pores present on our skin. Evaporation of the sweat on the skin brings about a cooling effect. However, it is observed that the cooling process takes a little longer than the time required to raise body temperature. People working in hot areas like mines, boiler rooms, working or playing in the hot sun especially in the summer and in tropical areas are the most susceptible to heat related sickness.

If we do a lot of exercise or carry out a lot of activity in areas where high temperature is present, the natural cooling system is inadequate to regulate the body temperature. This would therefore lead to heat related illness. Surrounding air temperature, humidity levels and clothing, age, sex, weight, physical fitness, nutrition, alcohol or drug use, or pre-existing diseases like diabetes are all factors that may cause heat-related illnesses.

Heat related illnesses are usually associated with the following symptoms. Fatigue, throbbing headaches, being unusually thirsty, and cramping up are seen as first signs of heat related illness. Along with this excessive sweating, vomiting, vertigo, and confusion are the signs that you need to look out for in cases of detecting heat related illness.

Preventing heat related sickness starts with drinking a lot of water. This restores the level of water in the body which is an important for the cooling of our body. Small glasses of water at regular intervals are good for the body, during the course of a day one must consume 3 to 3.5 liters of water. Limiting exposure and maintaining temperature of surroundings, and taking breaks and moving to cooler areas also helps. Acclimatization usually reduces the severity of heat stress. Clothing can play an important part in both reducing and preventing heat related illnesses. Wearing loose and light colored clothing is recommended if you are going to be exposed to the sun or high temperature areas. Finally, salt or salt tablets should not be used because salt tablets can raise blood pressure and cause stomach ulcers. Salt tablets may seriously affect workers with heart disease. It is important to remember that these simple measures can counter heat related illnesses.