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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts an increase in temperature in eastern India. According to the weather department, eastern India may encounter temperatures as high as 44 degrees Celsius this week. In the past week, the weather service reported that temperatures in the northern, southern, and eastern states have increased by 4-6 degrees (above normal).

Summer has finally arrived! Even though it provides our favourite drinks and delicious fruits to enjoy, it also brings harsh weather that can be harmful to one’s health. Heatwaves are becoming a common occurrence and can have serious health effects, particularly on the elderly, young children, and people with underlying medical issues. 

Dr Divya Gopal, Internal Medicine, Sir HN Reliance Hospital and Research Centre says, “Your body overheating causes a condition called heat exhaustion. The main causes of heat illness include excessive physical activity and exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity. Heatstroke, weariness, and cramps are the three categories of heat-related disorders. The mildest type is heat exhaustion.”

“The first sign is cramping from the heat. Severe muscular spasms result from heat exposure; these typically affect the hands, calves, and feet due to salt and water loss. While muscular spasms may terminate spontaneously, the aftermath of soreness typically lasts for a day or two. The actual heat exhaustion follows next. A severe illness known as heat exhaustion develops when the body temperature reaches 101–104 degrees Fahrenheit,” adds Dr Divya.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

It’s more than just being exhausted. Symptoms include 

  • headache, 
  • moderate fever, 
  • nausea, 
  • vomiting, 
  • increased thirst, 
  • general numbness, 
  • muscular aches, 
  • decreased urine production

It’s common to have anxiety and agitation, and some people may even experience a drop in blood pressure and pass out. There is heat stroke, which is the final stage and a medical emergency. Exercise or extended heat exposure may be the cause of this potentially fatal illness. Dr Divya further comments, “A person who has a heat stroke has a body temperature of at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Organ failure, dry, red skin, lack of perspiration, disorientation due to brain haemorrhage, and on rare occasions, convulsions are among the symptoms.”

Tips To Prevent Heat Exhaustion

Fortunately, heat exhaustion can be prevented. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to heat exhaustion. 

– Take a break from all activities, unwind, locate a cooler area, drink sports drinks or cool water, remove tight or heavy clothing, apply cold compresses, or wash your head, face, and neck with cold water if you think you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. 

– Contact your physician if, within an hour, your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse. Heat exhaustion can last for around a week. 

– You must rest and let your body recuperate. 

– During this time, exercise and avoid the heat.

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