Be wary of heat strokes, warn experts

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Be wary of heat strokes, warn experts
If heat exhaustion is not spotted and treated, it could lead to a heat stroke.

Dubai - Heat related illnesses discussed during Twitter Clinic

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 25 Jul 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 26 Jul 2015, 2:33 AM

There has been a significant decrease in the number of patients admitted for heat related illnesses to Dubai Hopsital's ER, according to officials who spoke about heat-releated issues on Dubai's Health Authority's (DHA) Twitter clinic on Thursday.
Dr Maher El Hamarna, head of medical unit in Dubai Hospital's emergency department, who has been working with the department for over 29 years, said: "The mid-day rule and its effective implementation as well as an increase in awareness about heat related illnesses amongst all strata of the population are positive factors that have led to a significant decline in the number of cases we receive."
El Hamarna said heat related illnesses can be caused due to exertion or non-exertion. Non-exertional heat illnesses are more common among very young children, elderly, patients with chronic illnesses, and patients are on psychiatry medications.
Exertional heat related illnesses are common among athletes, military personnel, people who work in hot environments for prolonged period of time with inadequate fluid intake.
Heat-related illnesses can be caused due to exertion or non-exertion and can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the latter being a more serious condition.
El Hamarna said heat exhaustion is when the body becomes very hot and starts to lose water and salts due to sweating. If heat exhaustion is not spotted and treated early, there is a risk it could lead to a heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is when the body becomes very hot and starts to lose water or salt from sweating. If heat exhaustion is not spotted and treated early, there is a risk it could lead to a heat stroke, which is a more serious condition.
Dr Syed Shams, internal medicine specialist at the Dubai Hospital, said: "Heat exhaustion can be due to outdoor or indoor prolonged exposure to heat and humidity and symptoms include moist skin due to excessive sweating, dizziness, thirst, muscle cramps and stiffness nausea and vomiting.
"However, heat stroke symptoms mainly include a high temperature of 41 degrees or more, dry skin and disorientation.
El Hamarna added that in case someone is experiencing these symptoms after exposure to heat and humidity, the first step is to remove the person from that environment and move the person to a cool area and call the ambulance. In the meantime, remove excessive layers of clothing and start the cooling process with any means available at that moment - either by putting the person in water or sponging or by using ice packs on the face, armpits and groin area. If the patient is conscious and not vomiting, provide any rehydration fluid. Do not use any medicines to reduce the body temperature which is a common mistake and cause kidney and liver damage."
In terms of general precautions, Dr Nesreen Kaoud, specialist registrar in primary healthcare sector at the DHA, said: "People should avoid long exposure to heat and humidity - whether indoor or outdoor. Moreover, precautions should be taken to avoid heat illnesses. People who do strenuous exercise or those who are exposed to the sun for prolonged period of time, especially children, should consume a natural solution of water with salt and sugar or coconut water or an oral rehydration salt to replenish the loss of fluids and salts."
Ali Al Rahma, senior health educator in primary healthcare sector at the DHA, said: "Other precautionary measures are to cover the head and neck - use an umbrella, cap or a cotton head scarf. Clothing should be loose and light. Cotton is the best fabric to help evaporation and regulate the body temperature which takes place through sweating."
asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com



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