Nurture your health

How to stay away from heat-related illnesses

While many are concerned about the coronavirus, it shouldn’t be overlooked that there are also heat-related illnesses that can threaten one’s health.

Heat-related illnesses can be common, especially in tropical countries like the Philippines where temperature can go beyond 40°C. More than the discomfort that this high temperature brings, it can cause illnesses that may turn fatal.

What are heat-related illnesses?
Heat-related illnesses are caused by prolonged or intense exposure to hot temperatures. When this occurs, the body needs to work harder to cool itself, resulting to a blood rush that deprives the brain, muscles, and other organs of sufficient blood flow that they require to function properly.

Who are at risk?

Anyone can suffer from this, but some people are at greater risk including but not limited to:

  1. Infants and children (0-4 years old)
  2. Elderly (65 years and up)
  3. Obese people
  4. Immuno-compromised individuals
  5. People under certain medications

SOURCE: CDC.gov

3 types of heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them:

  • Heat stroke
    A heat stroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its temperature due to excessive heat. This causes a rapid rise in body temperature and failure in the sweating mechanism, making the body unable to cool down. This is considered the most serious form of heat-related illness. It may lead to permanent disability or even death when proper treatment is not received.

    Warning signs to watch out for:
    Body temperature that exceeds 103°F or 39°C, flushed skin, absence of sweat, rapid and strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness.

    SOURCE: Mayoclinichealthsystem.org

  • Heat cramps
    Unlike heat stroke, heat cramps are considered the mildest form of heat-related illness. They are manifested by painful muscle cramps and spasms that occur in association with strenuous activity or intense exercise that leads to sweating and depletion of the body’s salt and moisture.

    Warning signs to watch out for:
    Skin redness, moist skin, and cramps particularly leg cramps

    SOURCE: Fairview.org

  • Heat exhaustion
    This is more serious than heat cramps. Heat exhaustion occurs when water and salt in the body are lost due to extreme heat and excessive sweating. In this condition, the body fails to cool itself correctly. Without the right treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

    Warning signs to watch out for:
    Pale and moist skin, muscle and abdominal cramps, fever above 39°C, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark-colored urine, headache, fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and lightheadedness

    SOURCE: WebMD.com

 

Prevention tips for all heat-related illnesses:

●     Dress in lightweight clothing. This will allow your body to cool properly.

●     Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to help maintain normal body temperature.

●     Limit alcohol and caffeine. These drinks can contribute to body dehydration.

●     Take a bath regularly. A cool shower can help relieve heat.

●     Prevent sunburn. Sunburn causes discomfort and can increase your body’s temperature. Apply sunscreen when going outdoors.

●     Limit exposure to direct sunlight. Stay in cool places as much as possible.

●     Avoid strenuous physical activities. If they need to be done, it’s better to do them when the temperature is not too hot.

SOURCES: CDC.govChildrenshospital.orgURMC.Rochester.eduWebMD.com

 

ALSO READ: Summer diseases and how to avoid them

In the past few months, the Philippines experienced a record-high heat index in various parts of the country. This means that aside from practicing proper hygiene, wearing masks, and social distancing to prevent COVID-19, every Filipino family must also take extra precaution to prevent heat-related illnesses.

At this time when your family’s health could be compromised, you need to be prepared. Get yourself and your family covered with the Family Armor product at the Sun Life Lazada store for that added layer of protection from life’s uncertainties. Check out the Family Armor products to know the type of coverage and affordable protection you can avail of to suit the needs of all your family members.

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Brighter Life Team

The Brighter Life Team is Sun Life's very own writing team. Sharing their own experiences, goals, and ideas, the Brighter Life Team is ready to make your day brighter.