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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Steps to prevent heat-related illnesses

Heat related illnesses are one of the main causes for loss of workdays and also death in a number of tropical countries.

People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.

But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.

The body has an inbuilt mechanism to ward off excess heat. But this mechanism will not be able to keep pace in extremely hot conditions. The factors affecting your body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather are:
  • High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won't evaporate as quickly, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
  • Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and few prescription drugs and also alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

The following are steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:
  • Stay in an indoor location or in a shade as much as possible.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even  if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  • Pace yourself. Do not over stress your body
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down whenever possible.