Heat Stroke Symptoms, Preventive Measures & Home Remedies
Created by Divya Marwaha Updated on Jun 11, 2019
Summer is the most testing weather, particularly for school going children, who come back from school in the sweltering afternoon hours when the scorching sun is overhead. And nothing hurts a mother more than seeing their hot, flushed faces and perspiration drenched clothes, leave alone the fear of heat generated ailments that children might fall prey to. For instance, heavy sweating may lead to dehydration, or other problems such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke may surface, the latter being a potentially life-threatening condition. Though children are always uneasy when they commute from school to home in the afternoon heat, parents need to be aware of symptoms of heat stroke, as it requires immediate medical attention.
When the weather is very hot and humid, the natural cooling mechanism of the body fails and the body temperature goes up to dangerous levels, resulting in heat exhaustion and in extreme conditions, heat stroke. It can be caused by strenuous physical exercise or just being outdoors because the body experiences excessive loss of fluids and salts with perspiration. During heat stroke, the body temperature is elevated up to 104 F and the blood supply to the brain is impaired.
Heat Stroke Signs & Symptoms
The following symptoms may be visible and must not be overlooked at all. Read here
- High body temperature (about 104 F)
- Rapid pulse and heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness, disorientation, and headache
- Fatigue and breathlessness
- Muscle cramps and pain
- Hot, dry skin and absence of sweat
This condition deteriorates very rapidly and requires a timely action, otherwise, the child may lose consciousness. One should seek immediate medical assistance in such a case.
Heat Stroke Preventive Measures
We all usually listen to a famous proverb "Prevention is Better than Cure". As it is quoted, prevention is indeed better than cure, particularly when it comes to small children. Heat stroke can have very serious consequences, which makes it very important for parents to realize the gravity of taking preventive measures to avoid its occurrence. Some of these are as follows:
- Keep Child Indoor - The best preventive measure of heat stroke is keeping the child indoors, particularly during peak hours, which is noon to 4 PM. Parents need to get together and discuss with school authorities about re-adjusting the school timings, particularly in very hot days and for very small children. The school may start earlier in the morning so that children can reach home before excessive afternoon heat wave sets in.
- Keeping Child Hydrated -Teach the children about the importance of keeping themselves hydrated. Give them an extra water bottle with a homemade energy drink, prepared by adding lemon juice, salt, and sugar to water. Tell them to keep having small sips of both water and this drink throughout the day and most importantly, on their way back from school, too.
- Cover Heads when Outdoors - Give them a wide-brimmed hat or bandana to cover their heads when they are outdoors. The head is particularly susceptible to suffer from heat stroke. Apply sunscreen on uncovered areas of the body to avoid sunburn.
- Avoid Outdoor Activities in School - Ensure that the children are not involved in vigorous and outdoor physical activities in school, as it may cause them to be dehydrated due to excessive sweating.
- Guide Drivers to Park Van in Shady Areas -Ask the van drivers to park the vans in shady areas so that the inside temperatures do not become too high. Also, make sure that the windows are not completely shut as it can hamper the circulation of air.
- Always Consult a doctor - In case the child seems to have symptoms of heat stroke, call a doctor immediately. You can give some first aid, such as taking the child in a cool room, removing the clothes, sponging the forehead and body with cold water and giving him ORS or some natural energy drink. Avoid caffeinated drinks, tea or coffee.
Heat Stroke Home Remedies
There are some simple home remedies that can protect your school going children from heat stroke. These are:
- Hydration is the key to combating heat stroke. Plain water, fruit and vegetable juices, sherbets, glucose, and lemonade not only prevent heat stroke but are also nutritious and energy giving. Also give them plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, melons, cucumbers, and lettuce.
- Coriander juice or coriander-mint chutney is an effective home remedy for heat stroke.
- Massage coconut oil in the scalp in case of high body temperature.
- Coconut water and tamarind juice are other drinks helpful for combating heat stroke.
- Onion juice can be applied at the back of the ears to alleviate the symptoms of heat stroke. Onion salad is beneficial too.
- Soak some ripe plums in water for 3-4 hours and mash them in the water. Drain the mixture and serve it to the child when he comes home.
- Prepare buttermilk by mixing 2 tablespoons of fresh curd in a glass of water and adding a pinch of black salt and powdered cumin seeds and blending them together. Serve it twice a day.
- "Mango Panna" and "thandai" are traditional drinks used to protect against heat stroke.
With the heat wave having set in, the afternoon hours have become very tough on school going children. The number of heat stroke cases is increasing with every passing year. These daunting statistics make it essential for parents to be aware of the causes, symptoms and preventive measures to protect their children from heat stroke.
Besides covering all these, this blog also shares some simple home remedies to help parents increase the resistance of their children so that they do not fall prey to this critical illness.