Dumaguing: Avoid Heat Stroke

Victor Dumaguing

THE heat is upon us. The searing energy of the sun has pushed the heat index to stratospheric levels, almost challenging the capacity of every precise thermometer close to bursting. We can only hope and pray that the so-called ozone layer composed of dense O3 is still thick enough to filter the ultraviolet rays alpha and beta that reach the surface of Mother Earth and at the same time, deflect the very harmful ultra violet gamma rays and bounce them off back into cosmic space .

The world remembers the deaths of many elders and senior citizens in the south of France in August of 2003- a very hot summer- a sad event which embarrassed the government in the way they could have prevented it especially in those housed in Homes for the Aged. In fairness, even old folks in their own homes also succumbed to cardiovascular events due to the scorching heat of the sun. As a result, developed countries started pointing fingers at each other, accusing them for raising the overall greenhouse effect of higher Earth's temperature due to excessive use of coal and carbon-based fuels for energy and other uses.. The Paris climate control meeting came up with a solution, hopefully, that should there be an increase in temperature, it should not be more than 1.5 degree Celsius.

Heat stroke occurs when the persons' internal temperature suddenly rises due to very hot weather conditions, with the normal bodily adaptations - thermostat or temperature regulation center plus the compensatory mechanisms of the skin- dilatation of superficial blood vessels, opening of skin pores and seating- unable to cope up. The patient undergoes signs and symptoms of neurologic deficits i.e. brain functions ranging from weakness, disorientation, confusion, delirium and worse, may lapse into coma.

Heat stroke is definitely an emergency. If the patient is still conscious and his swallowing reflex is intact, give him a glass of water, the cooler the better. Of course, take him into a cool, shaded place, loosen belts, remove bra and other constricting apparel like socks which could impede escape of heat from the body. With face towel dipped in cold water. Place them on forehead, nape, axilla or armpit, groin. If an electric fan is available,, run it at high speed and let the patient take deep inhalation and exhaled with pursed lips. If the heat stroke patient is found comatose or unconscious, rush him to the hospital as soon as possible.

Again as mentioned many times before, try to stay indoors or for nature lovers, under the shade especially from 10 am to 3 pm - time when the heat of the sun is almost burning Earth's surface- drink as much fluid, water preferably and urinate as frequently, wear light-colored loose long sleeved apparel preferably cotton, and enjoy a tall glass of halo halo.

Yummy, Enjoy summer!