THE HAZARDS OF HEAT WAVES

We need to be ever vigilant in protecting ourselves from the sun and high temperatures.

Care should be taken during summer to drink considerably more, for adults two and a half litres daily to avoid dehydration, choosing water above all else to slake one’s thirst.   The loss of water by sweating, initiated  in response to elevated body temperature, may reach dramatic proportions ie 2 litres per hour.

Babies may need more than the usual drinks from the breast, supplements of boiled water may be enjoyed rather than continual feeding at close quarters to Mum’s body heat.

High temperatures may overcome the body’s heat loss mechanisms, when body temperature goes up, the affected individual is apt to suffer a series of disorders:   heat cramps followed by heat exhaustion and if that is untreated, heat stroke.

HEAT CRAMPS – there is localized muscle cramping of the extremities and occasionally of the abdomen.   The condition will abate with rest in a cool environment and adequate fluids.

HEAT EXHAUSTION – occurs with further heat retention and fluid loss.   SYMPTOMS – headache, tiredness, vomiting, rapid pulse.   Blood pressure may drop.   Heat exhaustion is treated by rest, no solids for 24 hours and fluid replacement with water and unsweetened fruit juice.

HEAT STROKE – is a medical emergency, recognized by a body temperature of up to 41 degrees Celsius, hot, dry skin, confusion, dizziness and loss of consciousness.   Immediately remove the patient’s outer clothing, place him in a cool environment and cool down with applications of cold water or ice especially to the head, neck, back and chest.   The patient should be treated with appropriate fluids containing vital electrolytes, best administered by supportive medical care, as heat stroke can cause fatal complications.

To soothe the pain of sunburn and burns, apply Aloe Vera leaf slice or Aloe Vera Gel, or Calendula ointment, Calamine of Witch Hazel preparations and cold wet packs.   Cool baths to which 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar have been added, are very soothing.   Alternatively, you may care to try bath water, to which has been added 500 gram of corn starch.

Finally, never leave the house without applying your top quality sun block lotion, and TAKE CARE – COVER UP!   It’s amazing how many people don’t wear a hat.

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