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Take proper care in severe heat conditions: expert

Chandigarh: Even as severe heat conditions have thrown normal life out of gear in this region, Max Hospital Mohali has issued an advisory on Tuesday.
Dr. Gurpreet Singh Babra, director internal medicine & rheumatology at Max informed that the health impact of a heat wave depends on the intensity and duration of the temperature, the acclimatization and adaptation of the population and the infrastructure and preparedness.
He said that exposure to heat causes severe symptoms, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke – a condition which causes faintness, as well as dry, warm skin, due to the inability of the body to control high temperatures.
“Other symptoms include swelling in the lower limbs, heat rash on the neck, cramps, headache, irritability, lethargy and weakness. Heat can cause severe dehydration, acute cerebrovascular accidents and contribute to thrombogenesis (blood clots).
People with chronic diseases that take daily medications have a greater risk of complications and fatalities during a heat wave, as do older people and children. Reactions to the heat depend on each person’s ability to adapt and serious effects can appear suddenly. This is why it is important to pay attention to the alerts and recommendations of local authorities, he maintained.
One should also plan ahead. Cancel or reschedule activities for the coolest part of the day and avoid exercising and being outdoors in the heat, asserted Dr. Babra.
Dos and don'ts to follow:
• Do not step out between 12 noon and 3 pm, if not necessary.
• Do not take up physically strenuous activities when the temperature is high.
• Do not consume beverages like alcohol, coffee, and tea that dehydrate the body.
• Do not eat protein-rich or stale food.
• Do not leave your pets or offspring locked in the car.
• Hydrate yourself from time to time even if you are not thirsty.
• Consume fruits like watermelon, homemade drinks like lemonade, lassi, and chhach, apart from ORS to re-hydrate yourself.
• Take a cold-water bath and keep your home cool. Use a shutter, sunshade and curtains during the day and keep your windows open during the night.
• Wear light-coloured, loose, light-weighted clothes. Also use protective accessories like goggles, hats, caps, umbrellas, shoes and/or chappals before going out in the sun.
• Keep yourself cool by using a damp cloth on your heads and limbs, and avoid direct sunlight and heat by using a cap or an umbrella.

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