How does one deal with heat exhaustion? The second part of the column on handling common medical emergencies.
How it occurs
Heat exhaustion occurs due to exposure to hot, humid weather and inadequate fluid or electrolyte intake.
Not being acclimatised to hot and humid conditions, vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and increase chances of heat exhaustion.
Who are at risk?
People with high blood pressure
People exercising in the heat
How to recognise?
The person looks exhausted
Generalised weakness, fatigue
Dizziness, confusion and disorientation
Pale and clammy skin
Loss of appetite
Move the person to a cool, shady area.
Switch on the fan or AC
Raise the victim's legs.
Give him/her cold fluids, preferably juice, lemonade with salt and sugar or a sports drink.
Loosen clothing, if it is tight.
Check responsiveness and breathing.
If the victim becomes unconscious or drowsy, place him in the recovery position.
If not breathing, start CPR.
Do not give hot drinks or stimulants.
Do not give anything to eat or drink if the person becomes unconscious.
Extract from Medical Emergency Handbook, VIVO Healthcare, Rs.199.
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