Avoiding heat stroke at home
The weather app on your phone says 36 degrees Celsius but it feels more like above 40. You can’t help but have thoughts of wanting to curl up inside your fridge if only to escape the oppressive heat and hope that when you get out, temperatures would have cooled a little.
But it only gets worse. Earlier this week, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported that the heat index in Dagupan City, Pangasinan and Sangley Point, Cavite reached a sweltering 49 degrees Celsius.
Heat index refers to what humans perceive or feel as the temperature affecting their body. A heat index of 41 to 54 degrees Celsius, Pagasa warned, may cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion which, in turn, may lead to heat stroke. As a preventive measure, the Department of Health (DOH) has advised the public to drink plenty of water but avoid tea, coffee, soda and alcoholic drinks during this time.
Do’s and don’ts
There are many other ways to prevent yourself from getting a heat stroke.
While it is suggested that we should get some sun every day and exercise to boost our immune system against COVID-19, we need to do this early in the day when it is a bit cooler. It is best to avoid engaging in strenuous physical activities especially in the middle of the day when temperatures are its highest. Similarly, one should avoid going outdoors in the middle of the day–at the very least, wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella if you really need to go out and run some errands.
It’s also best to wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing during this season. Make every effort as well to let fresh air in your living spaces to ensure better ventilation. Keep your windows open during the day to let even the slightest of breeze inside your home.
Tell tale signs
It’s equally crucial as well to know if you’re having a heat stroke. According to DOH, signs of heat exhaustion including warm and flushed skin, faintness, dizziness, weakness and headache. This may lead to an emergency condition of heat stroke if the person develops a high fever of 41 degrees Celsius, has a rapid heartbeat, experiences convulsion and delirium, and turns unconscious.
The DOH instructs the public to move a person suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke indoors or to a shady spot and have them lie down with their legs elevated. If he or she is conscious, make him or her sip cool water. Apply cool water to the affected person’s skin. It is best to also apply ice packs to the armpits, wrists, ankles and groin.
The health agency further emphasized that heat stroke is a medical emergency and that it is important for the affected individual to be brought to the nearest hospital or healthcare facility. Health maintenance organization (HMO) Medicard Philippines Inc. has kept some of its free-standing clinics open for members and non-members alike who would need medical assistance amid the ongoing quarantine.
For those who need to consult with healthcare professionals but cannot leave the house, Medicard offers telemedicine which allows primary care consultation with the doctors at Medicard Lifestyle Center without having to leave the house. MyPocketDoctor—another free service via an app that can be downloaded on your mobile phones—enables you to make appointments and consultations with your doctor from the safety of your homes.
For suggestions on how to keep healthy especially during this dry season, the HMO also encourages everyone to visit its websites, medicardphils.com and medicardlifestyle.com. You may also check out Medicard’s Facebook page for tips and other updates.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.