The Telegraph
Monday , May 19 , 2014
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Heatwave triggers health concern

The heatwave condition prevailing in the city, apart from causing discomfort to the residents, is triggering health problems.

The temperature is already 42.9°C and rising. Therefore, it is very important to take proper precautions in order to save oneself from the diseases that might cause owing to the rising temperature.

Even after taking necessary precautions, the residents are seen doing the rounds of clinics and hospitals. Anuja Sinha, a resident of Bailey Road, said: “My 10-year-old son is suffering from heatstroke. Though I had undertaken several precautions for him, he still fell sick. This is quite astonishing.”

Dr Amit Kumar Sinha, general physician, Magadh Hospital, while talking to The Telegraph explained the different types of health problems that can be triggered by heatwave.

“Heat cramps are mostly seen among octogenarians and professionals. These can lead to muscular pain or spasms because of heavy exertion. Though these cramps are not that serious, they definitely send a warning that the body is not coping well with the scorching heat. It is very necessary to always check the hours of exercise during the summer,” he said.

“Another health problem that is quite common among people in the summer is heat exhaustion, which might be caused because of overexposure to heat, heavy exercise and outdoor activities. There is a tremendous loss of body fluids because of heavy sweating. The blood flow to the skin increases and this might result in mild shocks. If untreated for a long time, the condition of the victim can worsen, leading to continuous rise in body temperature and heatstroke,” Dr Sinha added.

“In heatstroke condition, the victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working and the body temperature increases leading to brain damage and death. Under such circumstances, the victim’s temperature needs to be brought down quickly,” Dr Sinha said.

The common symptoms of heatstroke are pallor, clammy skin, sweating, extreme fatigue, weakness, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, vomiting and thirst.

Extreme heatstrokes lead to seizures, headache, fast breathing and rapid pulse.

Doctors in the city suggest a series of recommendations by which residents can protect themselves from the effects of heatwaves.

The appropriate and necessary precautions include proper workout and healthy diet. “One should try and get less exposed to the sun. Cover your face, especially nose, in order to avoid inhaling hot air,” Sinha said.

A balanced diet is also very important to beat heatwave condition.

Sonia Sinha, dietician, Magadh Hospital, said: “Avoid or minimise intake of alcohol, carbonated and caffeinated beverages. This would help to avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids. It is very important to replenish the quantity of liquid that is removed by sweating.”

“During the summer, less oily and spicy food helps to keep the metabolism of the body perfect. High-calorie or high-protein meals raise the metabolism and temperature of the body. One should increase the intake of fruits rich in water, including cucumber, coconut water, watermelon and papaya. Eat light, balanced and regular meals,” Sonia said.

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