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Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke   

Exposure to excessive heat can cause loss of body fluids and a rise in body temperature. This may occur at any age but is most common in babies and elderly people. It can occur due to prolonged exposure to high atmospheric temperature or a brief exposure to very high atmospheric temperature (direct exposure to sun is not necessary) or due to heavy manual work in high temperature, high humidity. Pre-existing chronic diseases and alcoholism are some of the predisposing factors

1.  Check your hydration -- The body cools by sweating, which is produced using the body's fluids. But at extremely high temperatures, natural cooling mechanisms start to fail and heat builds up in the body. Adequate hydration can stave off the risky reaction. If you're going to be physically active, opt for a sports drink which contains key electrolytes to keep your body in balance.

2.  Check your head -- A headache is an important indicator of heat stroke, as are dizziness and disorientation. Unfortunately, once the latter symptoms develop, heat stroke can rapidly worsen. If you've been out in the sun and develop a headache -- even slightly -- start treatment procedures. Hats and umbrellas can both be useful tools to stave off sun-related health risks.

3.  Check your friends -- Many of the symptoms of heat stroke are serious enough to impair judgment; assessing friends, and relying on them to do the same, can be invaluable. If companions have hot, dry skin, seem disoriented or confused, or appear sluggish, they might already be in the later stages of heat stroke. Call an ambulance by dialing 911 and, in the meantime, apply cool water to the skin and ice packs to the groin and armpits, and elevate the feet.

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