How to protect yourself from heatstroke, an expert tells

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaMay 23, 2023 | 08:00

How to protect yourself from heatstroke, an expert tells

Heatstroke is a severe medical condition that happens when your body overheats and can't cool down properly. Photo: dailyO

India is currently experiencing heatwaves, particularly in the northern regions. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) recently issued a yellow alert for Delhi and temperatures in some places have already gone up to 45 degrees Celsius.

It is crucial to take precautions and ensure personal safety during this intense heat, as even a few minutes of exposure to the sun can result in a heatstroke.


But, what is a heat stroke? 

  • Heatstroke is a severe medical condition that happens when your body overheats and can't cool down properly.
  • It occurs when you are exposed to extremely high temperatures or engage in strenuous activities in hot environments.
  • Your body's natural cooling mechanisms, such as sweating, become overwhelmed, and your body temperature rises to dangerous levels.

When a heatstroke occurs, your body is unable to cool itself down, which can lead to serious complications and even be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Symptoms: High body temperature (usually above 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit), hot and dry skin, a rapid heartbeat, headache, dizziness, confusion, and sometimes loss of consciousness.

Here are steps that you can take to save yourself from a heatstroke:

Anoushkaa Garsa, a dietitian and lifestyle coach from Noida shares some tips: 

1.  Stay hydrated 

Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid beverages that can dehydrate you, such as alcohol or caffeine. She also says that adding Fenugreek powder is a good way to cool down your body.

If you don't want to drink just water, you can have fruit juices that have a higher content of water in it, like watermelon, or cucumber. 


2. Dress appropriately

Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-coloured clothing to help your body stay cool. Apart from that, wear materials like cotton so that it does not trap a lot of heat. Use a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun. 

3. Seek shade

Stay in shaded areas as much as possible, especially during the hottest times of the day, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. If possible, reduce your exposure to high temperatures by minimizing outdoor activities during peak heat. If you must be outside, take frequent breaks in cool or shaded areas.

4. Use sunscreen 

It's 2023 and if you are still not using sunscreen, you have a problem. If you wanna buy sunscreen here's a quick guide: Buy a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) to protect your skin from harmful UV rays (Learn from Cameron from Modern Family).

According to experts, it is ideal to reapply it every two hours or more often if sweating excessively or swimming.

5. Cool down

Take regular breaks in air-conditioned or well-ventilated places to cool down your body. Use fans, take cold showers, or apply cool towels to your neck or forehead to lower your body temperature.


6. Cover your head

Often overlooked, this one is really important! If you are stepping out in the sun, do not forget to cover your head with a cloth, hat or an umbrella. 

Photo: IANS

At last, it is important to listen to your body and pay attention to signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, such as excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, or confusion. If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, rest, and seek medical attention if necessary.

Last updated: May 23, 2023 | 08:00
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