Init pa more! Dangers of heat stroke & how to prevent it
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The Philippines is often at the mercy of extreme weather. Filipinos face at least 20 typhoons a year and during summer, we endure blistering temperatures. Now that summer is here, the heat index is soaring again.

 

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the highest heat index recorded so far in 2022 is 53 degrees Celsius (127.4 degrees Fahrenheit). This sweltering temperature was recorded on the 17th of March in Dagupan, Pangasinan. The weather bureau cautions the public to be ready for even hotter days as the Philippines’ hottest temperatures usually manifest in May. As the heat continues to climb, the Department of Health (DOH) warns the people against the dangers of heat stroke, the most severe kind of illness associated with very hot temperatures.

 

Heat stroke happens when the body reaches a point where it can no longer control its temperature. This occurs when the temperature escalates rapidly and the body fails to get rid of the excessive heat by sweating. When heat stroke strikes, the body temperature can rise to 40°C or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.

Warning signs and symptoms
Heatstroke
Alternate mental state or behavior
Vomiting
Fast Heart Rate
Rapid Breathing
Seizure
Confusion
Flushed Skin
Headache
Very high body
temperature
Loss of Consciousness
(coma)
Dry skin and hot
to the touch
Slurred Speech
Complications

Heat stroke can lead to several complications, depending on how long the person’s body temperature is high.

 

  • Vital organ damage - If no emergency measures were done to lower the person’s body temperature, heat stroke can cause the brain or other vital organs to swell, which may lead to permanent damage.

  • Death - Heat stroke can be fatal without immediate and adequate treatment.

Treatment

Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency. Bring the patient immediately to the hospital after establishing emergency measures. When you have a quality healthcare plan, you can be assured that you and your family get the best medical care services.

Emergency measures according to the DOH:

 

  • Place the person in the shade or indoors.

  • Let the person lie down with legs elevated.

  • If possible, have the person sip cool water.

  • Remove excess clothing, apply cool water to the skin, and cool the person with a fan and other means available.

  • Place ice packs or cold moist towels on the person’s armpits, wrists, ankles, and groin.

Prevention

Here are some ways to prevent heat stroke during hot weather, especially during summer or dry season:

Emergency measures according to the DOH:

 

  • Drink lots of water. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol.

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and preferably light-colored clothing.

  • Limit the time you spend outdoors, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

  • If you need to go out, wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before heading outside. It is also advisable to wear a hat and sunglasses while outdoors.

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

  • Never leave anyone, including kids and pets in a parked car.

  • Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. Try to schedule your exercise and other activities when it’s cooler.

 

As you brace for hotter weather this summer, remember the warning signs and symptoms of heat stroke and the precautionary measures to avoid it. Stay safe and enjoy the summer!