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SUNSTROKE

A Sunstroke is an acute, life-threatening condition in which the body's heat-regulating system fails, due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures, excessive production of heat or commonly a combination of the two. The body is unable to lose heat adequately in order to return to its normal temperature. Body temperature rises to very high levels, which can damage major organs.
It can be further preceded if the body is exposed to heat exhaustion or continuous strenuous activity.

Sunstroke occurs when body's thermostat cannot keep body cool. Body relies on water evaporation to stay cool. As temperature rises, body starts reacting by sweating. When this sweat evaporates, it cools body. The amount of moisture in the air (humidity) determines how readily sweat evaporates. In very dry air, sweat evaporates easily, quickly cooling your body; but in very humid air, sweat does not evaporate. It may collect on the skin or run off body without affecting body's climbing temperature.

People particularly susceptible to sunstroke are young children, the elderly, individuals not used to physical activity and concomitant excessive sun exposure (such as overseas visitors walking in the mountains in Africa), people suffering from certain chronic medical conditions, and those involved in certain sporting activities. Skin disorders such as scleroderma can interfere with ability to sweat. Dehydrating medications; for example, the diuretics furosemide (Lasix) or hydrochlorothiaszide (Esidrix) make less water available in the body for sweat, thereby crippling body's cooling system.

Symptoms-

  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Hot, dry skin without sweat
  • High pulse rate
  • High body temperature
  • Unconsciousness
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech or hallucinations
  • Hyperventilation( rapid and shallow breathing)
  • Muscle cramps
Diagnosis-
1.History of the patient including all symptoms
2.Temperature reading
3.Blood pressure measurement
4.Urine examination
5.Blood examination

Treatment-
If someone shows the signs of sunstroke, seek medical treatment immediately. Before medical treatment arrives, move the individual to a cool area.
The primary treatment goal is to lower the elevated body temperature as quickly as possible.
Remove the person's clothing and immerse the body in a cold water bath. If this is not possible, cover the body with a wet sheet or towels, sponge down the body with cool water or rub the limbs with ice-cubes.
Place ice packs (if available) at the neck, armpits and groin. Fan the person with a newspaper, towel or electric fan to increase air flow and evaporation.
Elevate the feet to direct blood back toward the head.
While cooling the body down, take the person's temperature rectally every 10 minutes and do not allow it to fall below 38.5ºC. Only immerse the person in a cold bath until their temperature falls to 39.4ºC. Resume cooling if the body starts to heat up again.

Self care-
Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and sunstroke. avoid strenuous activity during hot weather. In addition, avoid drinking caffeinated beverages to keep yourself from becoming dehydrated.

Preventive measures-
The following measures can help prevent problems relating to heart and sunstroke:
1. Drink plenty of water in hot environment and do not wait to feel thirsty to drink.
2. Drink water before, during and after exercising
3. Rest during the hottest part of the day.
4. Wear light coloured, light weighted and loose fitted clothes in hot weather. Cotton is
     the best garment as it allows more air to pass.
5. Try to make exposure to the sun limited.
6. Wear a hat or cap, preferably one with a wide brim, especially if working in the sun
     because the head is particularly sensitive part to heat.
7. Open windows, or use a fan to improve indoor air circulation. Eat light, small meals,
    and limit alcohol intake in hot weather. Avoid alcohol before, during, and immediately
    after exercise. Alcohol causes to lose more fluid than you consume.
8. Limit vigorous and strenuous activity during hot or humid weather, especially during
    the middle of the day.

Role of homoeopathy
After providing first aid, which is very essential, the victim can be treated with homeopathic drugs to reduce the effects caused or to even recover faster.
The prognosis depends on the severity of the condition.

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