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ฮีตสโตรก - heatstroke

Heatstroke, a dangerous condition during hot weather

Let's get to know heatstroke.

Heatstroke, sometimes called sunstroke too, is a severe medical condition that occurs when the body’s temperature regulation system fails, resulting in dangerously high body temperatures (equal to or greater than 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit) which can be life-threatening. It is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention to prevent severe complications or death. Heatstroke often occurs after prolonged exposure to high temperatures, especially when accompanied by dehydration and strenuous physical activity.

Heatstroke can pose a danger to vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and muscles. Without prompt and appropriate treatment, individuals may experience severe complications, some even leading to disability or death.

ฮีตสโตรก - heatstroke

Types of Heatstroke

Heatstroke is divided into 2 types:

  1. Classical heatstroke or non-exertional heatstroke (NEHS) : Occurs when exposed to hot environments, particularly during prolonged periods, without necessarily engaging in strenuous physical activity.
  2. Exertional heatstroke : Results from intense physical activity, particularly in hot weather conditions, leading to a rapid increase in the body’s core temperature.

Causes of Heatstroke

Heatstroke occurs when the body’s internal temperature regulation mechanism is overwhelmed, causing a rapid increase in body heat. Several contributing factors can lead to heatstroke :

  1. Extreme heat : Exposure to hot weather conditions, especially during heatwaves or in environments with high heat and humidity, increases the risk of heatstroke.
  2. Dehydration : Resulting from inadequate fluid intake or excessive sweating, failure to replenish fluids properly can hinder the body’s ability to regulate temperature, increasing the risk of heatstroke.
  3. Physical exertion : Engaging in activities that require significant physical exertion, especially in hot conditions, can rapidly elevate the body’s internal temperature, increasing the risk of heatstroke.
  4. Certain medications : Some medications, such as antihistamines, diuretics, and beta-blockers, can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature or increase the risk of dehydration, making individuals more susceptible to heatstroke.

Warning Signs of Heatstroke

  • Extremely high body temperature, above 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Dry, hot skin with no sweating.
  • Rapid heartbeat, palpitations, shallow breathing, rapid pulse rate.
  • Reduced blood pressure.
  • Thirst
  • Severe headache, dizziness, confusion, faintness.
  • Nausea, vomiting, fatigue.
  • Seizures, possible convulsions, loss of consciousness.
อาการเตือน ฮีทสโตรก - Warning Signs of Heatstroke

Preventing Heatstroke

  1. Avoid outdoor activities or stay in hot environments.
  2. Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing that allows sweat to evaporate and protects against the sun.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids, at least 6-8 glasses per day, even if not thirsty, to stay hydrated and maintain body temperature.
  4. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and high-sugar drinks.
  5. For those exercising, choose cooler times of the day and locations with shade, and warm up before activity.
  6. Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.
  7. Individuals with pre-existing conditions should seek medical attention immediately if experiencing any warning signs mentioned above.

Treatment of Heatstroke

Immediate first aid measures are crucial in helping individuals with heatstroke and preventing further complications while waiting for medical treatment :

  • Move the individual to a shaded or air-conditioned area.
  • Offer cool water or fluids if the person is conscious.
  • Remove excess clothing or loosen tight clothing.
  • Cool the person down, such as placing ice packs or wet towels on the head, neck, armpits, and groin, or placing the person in a cool bath or shower while waiting for emergency medical services.

การรักษา ฮีทสโตรก -Treatment of Heatstroke

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