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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brighton chapter.

If you or someone you are with experience severe symptoms of heatstroke, please contact your healthcare provider

During the hot summers, you might get a headache, dizziness and confusion, get cramps and/or feel sick. Ever wondered why? These are symptoms of heat stroke, the most serious heat related illness. But do you know what to do when it happens? Especially with the summer kicking in, you should be aware on how to prevent heat strokes and what to do in case you or someone you know has a heat stroke. Read on this article to know more about heat strokes, their treatment and prevention.

What are Heat Strokes and How do they Occur?

Heat stroke is a condition that occurs when your body overheats. This usually happens due to one’s exposure to high temperatures for a long time. This is one of the most serious heat injuries and usually occurs during summer time. What essentially happens is that your body becomes incapable of controlling its temperature, that is, the temperature rises rapidly, but your sweating mechanism fails, leaving your body unable to cool itself down. Heat strokes require immediate treatment as not treating it can lead to serious damage to your brain, heart, kidneys and even muscles.

“Heat strokes happen when an individual’s body temperature goes beyond 40֯C, and your body heats up while the cooling mechanism of your body stops functioning”

Dr Nisha Varghese

People with heat strokes also tend to sweat a lot and have an increased breathing rate, according to Dr Varghese.

What to do if Someone Gets a Heat Stroke?

  • Call emergency services that can take them to a hospital
  • Shift them to shaded, cool place
  • Cool the worker by covering them in wet clothes, pouring cold or room temperature water over their body etc. Ensure that the skin is getting wet and cooling down
  • Put them under a fan or circulate the air around them to speed cooling
  • Place ice pack or cold wet clothes on the cooling points on the body (head, neck, armpits and groin)
  • Ensure to take them to a hospital or stay with them until the emergency services arrive

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How to Prevent them?

“With climate change, temperatures are increasing all around the world. So, we advise workers to not work or work under shelter during 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., as that’s when the temperatures are at the highest”

Dr Varghese

Avoid going out during these times and take a bottle of water with you when you go out. Keeping an alarm to let you drink water at required intervals is a good option. Drinking a lot of water is an essential part in the prevention of heat strokes. Yet Dr Varghese recounts how many of her patients did not like to drink water enough. So, she suggests consuming water rich fruits, like watermelon, to keep the body’s cooling mechanism functioning. She also advised to avoid wearing tight clothes during the summer as it can increase one’s body temperature. Wear loose and comfortable clothes, and remind yourself and your loved ones to stay hydrated at all times.

For more advice on heat stroke:

I'm a postgraduate Journalism student at the University of Brighton. I have a curious mind to satisfy and I find it interesting to write on a variety of topics. I'm aspiring to be a journalist in the near future.