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June 16, 2016

Heat exhaustion must be avoided while fasting


June 16, 2016


Heat exhaustion must be avoided particularly by those who are fasting in the holy month of Ramazan in the existing severe heat spell as its complications may cause damage to the brain and other vital organs of the body and even can cause death.

According to a number of health experts, the heat exhaustion if not managed properly in time may lead to serious life-threatening conditions including heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is either caused by the deficiency of water or the deficiency of essential salts in the body and people under the fast are more prone to contract the health threat particularly in the existing severe heat spells.

People who are fasting must take extraordinary measures to avoid heat exhaustion and should be aware of the signs and symptoms of the threat so that they would be able to manage the problem well in time, say experts.  Heat exhaustion is often associated with dehydration and can be avoided by avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures.

Studies reveal that the symptoms of heat exhaustion caused by deficiency of water include excessive thirst, headache, loss of consciousness and weakness in the body while the cases of heat exhaustion due to deficiency of certain salts in the body experience muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. The symptoms may be severe enough to require hospitalization, especially in elderly.

Health experts suggest that in case of appearance of such signs and symptoms, the patient must break open the fast and should be given plenty of fluids to balance electrolytes in the body.

It is important that the severe heat spells in the country have already been posing serious health threat to public and the allied hospitals in town including Benazir Bhutto Hospital, District Headquarters Hospital and Holy Family Hospital along with Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad have already been receiving significant number of patients with heat-related problems including heat exhaustion.

It is time to create awareness among public on importance of immediate treatment in case of developing signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion particularly among those who are under the fast. Confusion, dark-coloured urine, pale skin, fainting, profuse sweating and rapid heartbeat are also symptoms of heat exhaustion and should not be taken non-serious, said Medical Specialist Dr. Muhammad Sohail Tariq while talking to ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

Talking of first aid treatment, he said a patient should be given plenty of fluids without caffeine. Sponging with cool water, bath, removal of tight and unnecessary clothing and application of cooling measures like fan or ice towel also helps managing the threat, he said.

He added that if the first aid treatment does not work, a patient should be taken to the nearest healthcare facility for treatment as delay in management can cause severe complications.

Health experts suggest that to avoid heat exhaustion, individuals particularly those who are under the fast should not go out and spend long hours unnecessarily under the sun at daytime. If it is necessary to go out, one should cover head with hat or cloth and try to avoid exposure to sunlight as much as possible. Experts say that if the body temperature goes up and the body stops sweating, the person should immediately report to the nearest healthcare facility.

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