BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 27 June 2010
According to Dr Motawally, other factors disturbing the body’s cooling system are heat in the air that flows from warmer objects, movement of the air that speeds the evaporation process, and clothing - the type of clothing that affects the amount of heat our bodies absorb and retain.
“This condition produces a rash which in some cases causes severe pain. The procedure to prevent or minimise the condition is to rest frequently in cool places and bath regularly [making sure one] thoroughly dries skin,” he added.
“Meanwhile, heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that result from the loss of salt and electrolytes due to excessive sweating. The cramps will usually affect the stomach, the arms and legs. This condition, which usually precedes heat exhaustion, can be treated by drinking fluids containing electrolytes such as calcium, sodium and potassium,” elaborated Dr Motawally.
He said that heat exhaustion is a state brought on by the loss of fluids during excessive sweating. Individuals with heat exhaustion still sweat, but they experience extreme weakness and may even collapse.
“The patients may experience nausea and headache. Their skin can be clammy or moist and their complexion usually becomes pale with a usually normal or slightly higher body temperature,” he explained. “This condition is best treated by taking the patient to a cool place, applying cool compresses, elevating the feet and giving the individual plenty of fluids.”
Dr Motawally pointed out that “the cases of heat stroke require severe medical emergency as the risk may lead the patient to death. It results when the body’s core temperature gets too high and the body is no longer able to cool itself.”
“An individual suffering from a heat stroke will have hot and dry skin, their pulse will be high and their blood pressure will fall. The patient may have irrational behaviour, may be in a state of confusion or may become comatose. The body’s core temperature may exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit,” he said.
“If not treated promptly, the core temperature will rise too high and death will follow,” he warned. “This condition must be treated by immediately cooling the victim’s body with water or wrapping them in cool wet sheets. The patients are advised to seek immediate medical attention.”
Wear loose-fitting clothes such as cotton, which lets the air move over your body.
Wide brimmed hats should also be worn.