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Myths about Heatstroke

It is a medical emergency that can be prevented by staying properly hydrated and by avoiding physical activities in humid weather. There are some popular myths regarding it.

Carbonated water or caffeinated beverages will help me stay energetic and terminate the possibilities of a heatstroke It will do just the opposite. Carbonated water and tea, coffee etc. will only elevate the body temperature. This will increase your thirst and if you do not drink enough water, you’ll eventually become dehydrated and suffer from a heatstroke or other heat related illnesses. Carbonated water and cola also temporarily raise the blood sugar level, which can increase your chances of suffering from a heatstroke. Instead, try some Gatorade or other sports beverages. Sports beverages are specially formulated to meet the special needs of athletes. Athletes who work out or play in the sunny outdoors during the hottest hours of the day are drained of electrolytes, minerals and body fluids. Sports beverages help to replace that loss and help prevent dehydration. But don’t drink too much if you’re not an athlete; the results may be counter productive.Eating spicy foods will increase the chances of heat exhaustionOne would suppose so, but it is actually not so. Even though it is never a bad idea to pursue a bland diet, especially in the extreme heat, eating a spicy and hot meal too is effective just as much. This is exactly why people from the hottest regions on the planet tend to eat spicy food. They’re not crazy for spices without a good reason. Think Malaysian, Mexican or Indian cuisine; they tend to be extremely spicy which induce perspiration. Profuse sweating helps in bringing down the body temperature. But in order for it happen right, you must supply your body with enough water or fluids. Drink ample amount of water and juices no matter what kind of diet you follow.Do not worry about side effects from medicines you’ve been taking for a long timeIt is advised that you do the opposite. Be sure to keep in mind the climate while consuming over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Get in touch with your doctor and tell them about your concern. According to some researches conducted by the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians), some medicines like diuretics, beta blockers etc. may deregulate blood pressure and/or increase body temperature. This makes it harder for your body to keep itself cool. Also, try and remain indoors during the afternoons when you’re undergoing any sort of treatment that involves using such medication.One is more likely to suffer from a heatstroke in New York rather than in TexasThis is actually a misinterpretation. Research show that people from warmer regions (Texas, Florida etc.), suffer less from a heatstroke or any other heat related trauma, in relatively less warm regions like New York, Wyoming etc. That is because people who are brought up in those regions can tolerate high heat relatively more than New Yorkers or people in Montana. This does not mean that a New Yorker will not suffer from heatstroke in the summer in New York. Even Texans suffer from heatstroke and heat related trauma in the Texan summer. This is the same reason why Southerners need extra jackets in the Northern winters. They are less acclimated to the cold than the heat.There will always be some warning symptoms before a heatstrokeIn almost 80 percent cases, it so happens that the person has visible physical symptoms like nausea, extremely high body temperature, vomiting, fatigue, headache etc. But in some cases, heatstroke can be a silent killer as well. In those rare 20 percent or more cases, people suffering from heatstroke will have a few neurotic symptoms, e.g disorientation, confusion etc. Dehydration is most likely to follow but not all the time. In exceptional cases, the patient might be sweating and urinating like a healthy person. This happens when it is a case of sudden heatstroke. Do not delay in getting a prompt and proper treatment.Dry heat is worse than humid heatOne would suppose so. Apparently a dry summer is like a very hot winter, where you’ll be dehydrated along with chapped lips! No one would want that, we’re sure. But dry heat or a dry summer is actually better than humid heat. Because in dry heat, you’ll sweat less and lose fewer body salts and minerals. While in humid heat, profuse sweating will make it more difficult for your body to maintain the electrolyte balance. But in either climate condition, make sure to stay cool by avoiding going out during the hottest hours of the day. Replace lost body fluid and regulate body temperature by drinking plentiful amount of water and juices.If you feel like fainting in the heat, jump into the poolThis is a deadly practice. When the body is highly heated, it seems quite tempting to jump into a pool or splash a bucketful of water on yourself. However, this increases the risk of a sudden heat stroke. Don’t try to be instinctive in these situations, wipe off perspiration and cool yourself under the fan for a while before washing or bathing. If any symptoms of heat stroke are prominent, consider getting immediate medical attention. Heat stroke often creates certain neurological symptoms like confusion, disorientation etc. which lead to poor decisions like jumping in the pool or eating ice. It is also not a healthy practice to exit an air-conditioned building right away and into the sun. Turn on your car AC before entering the vehicle in case it has been standing in the heat for long.People of all ages are equally vulnerable to heat strokeIt would only be fair if it were so, but it’s not. The heat is always very cruel towards the elderly and the young. Children under the age of 12 years and people above the age of 60 years are more vulnerable to heat. In most cases, people belonging to the aforementioned age group need prompt and proper treatment. Home remedies are not always sufficient for them and heat stroke can even cause death! Statistics indicate that about 500 people die of heat stroke every year in the US alone. So don’t be in two minds about calling 911 when heatstroke symptoms are prominent in children and the elderly.Heat stroke will only occur when we get too hot due to an extremely warm environmentIn some cases this is true. However, there are people who easily work outdoors during the hottest part of the day without becoming exhausted. Then there are people who can’t stand the heat even inside their homes. Resistance to heat varies from one person to the other. Just like according to age, prepubescent children and the elderly are more vulnerable to heat, similarly there are several other factors like health, profession and upbringing too makes people more or less prone to heat stroke. People suffering from longstanding or chronic diseases, e.g., diabetes, heart problems and lung dysfunctions are more prone to heatstroke. People who spend most of their time under the AC due to their profession are more likely to suffer a sudden heatstroke.

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