Summer Holidays : Protect Yourself from Heat Strokes & Dehydration

These days, kids tend to spend a lot less time than their counterparts from a generation ago due to a variety of factors, mainly change in our lifestyles.

In our overcrowded cities, concrete, steel, and automobiles rule, while lung spaces are shrinking and playgrounds are disappearing.

Generally speaking, the attention has shifted to excelling at academics, with sports and physical education taking a backseat. It is also true that kids today are exposed to far more dangers than the children from previous generations, making the parents weary about encouraging their kids to spend more time outdoors.

However, it is essential that children are encouraged to lead an active lifestyle and spend a reasonable amount of time being themselves. The advantages are many:

      Increased interactions with outside world boost children’s confidence levels.
      Keeps them away from TV and gadgets.
      Improves health and reduces risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
      Broadens horizons and contributes to the overall development of the child.

However, summer is a cruel month, especially in a tropical country like India. Heat strokes and dehydration are common occurrences. Therefore, before we do anything else, let us make safety our top priority and learn more about the dangers of overexposure to the summer sun.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion

Symptoms and signs of heatstroke may differ from person to person. It is not uncommon for the symptoms to manifest themselves suddenly and without warning. That is what makes the heatstrokes dangerous, especially to the aged and small children.

However, following are some common symptoms and signs of heat stroke:

      Nausea and vomiting
      Fatigue and weakness
      Headache, muscle cramps and aches
      High body temperature, the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin
      Rapid pulse, difficulty breathing
      strange behavior, hallucinations
      Confusion, agitation, disorientation

Treating a heat stroke victim

There is not a moment to lose and victims must be get immediate medical attention. Any delay could result in permanent organ damage.

Immediate medical help may not be readily available in some cases. In in the meantime, you can do the following until help arrives.

      First up, cool the victim by shifting him to a shady area. 
      Loosen/ remove clothing and fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation. This procedure helps cool down the body naturally.
      If ice packs are available, place them under the armpits and groin.
      Drinking water, and liquids that do not contain caffeine is helpful.

Prevention is always better than cure

      Stay hydrated and encourage children to drink water frequently.
      Avoid strenuous physical activity when it is hot and humid.
      Always insist on carrying an umbrella/hat, and a water bottle, if you must venture out.
      Use a good quality sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburns.
      In summer, cars can get really hot and suffocating. Keep them locked so that children and pets are not locked in accidentally.
      Never leave your kids or pets in a locked car when you go shopping.

The best of all is to stay indoors, from around 11 AM to late afternoon when it is hottest, in well ventilated rooms, It is a good time for indoor games and activities too.

Have fun in summer holidays, but take a few basic precautions to stay safe.

Happy Holidays!