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Sunstroke/ Heatstroke: Symptoms, Signs, Treatment, Foods to Eat & Avoid

Sunstroke/Heatstroke (Loo Lagna)

Introduction

The summer sun is unforgiving and makes most of us run to the hills. It’s hot outside and inside too. Sweltering summer days don’t just make the environment uncomfortable; they also tend to raise your body temperature. One of the most common problems associated with staying outdoors for too long is catching a heat stroke. According to Dr. Simran Saini, Nutritionist, “Heat exhaustion is a temporary phase where your body is overloaded with heat, but a heat stroke is a more serious condition. It is caused due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures which may overheat your body and raise its temperature more than the normal body temperature which is 37 degree Celsius. If your body temperature rises above 40 degree Celsius it can even damage your vital organs.”

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It is a serious medical condition which calls for prompt medical attention. Otherwise, it may lead to severe complications like shock, brain damage and even death. Timely application of home remedies like applying cold compresses or taking onion juice and other fruit juices are highly beneficial in avoiding such grave consequences. Indeed, prevention is better than cure when it comes to Heat Stroke.

[Also read, Things That Weaken Immunity, Learn How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy]


Traditional Approach

In Unani classics, it is mentioned under the heading of “Humma-e- Yaum Shamshiya” (Dhoop ka Bukhar). Sometimes this type of fever occurs due to excessive heat or due to overexposure to environmental heat. The heart and brain of the patient become hot. The signs and symptoms of the disease may include increased body temperature, feeling of heat in head and brain, dry hot and rough skin especially the skin of the face, increased heart rate, high-grade fever, excessive thirst, and restlessness. The peculiar diagnostic feature is the pulse of the patient which feels small and rapid.


Causes of Sunstroke/ Heat Stroke

The commonest causes of sunstroke are

  • Prolong exposure to Sun, especially in a dry and humid environment
  • Imbalance in the thermosetting system of the body
  • Dehydration due to excessive sweating

In short, heat stroke is caused by overexposure to environmental heat. Other contributing factors include thyroid imbalance, low blood sugar, intake of alcohol, stimulants, and drug used in the treatment of depression. The increase in core body temperature may also be the result of increased metabolism or physical exercise in hot and humid conditions. Children and elderly people are more susceptible to Heat Strokes.


Types of Sun Stroke/ Heat Stroke

It occurs mainly of two types

  • Mild Type
  • Severe Type

Signs and Symptoms of Sunstroke/ Heatstroke

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Sunstroke/ heat stroke is quite easily noticeable, as it triggers off many physical signs and symptoms. As soon as any of these signs become evident, it is important to consult a doctor. Given below are some of the most common signs and symptoms for heat stroke:

The most common signs and symptoms of mild Heat stroke/ Sunstroke include

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Scarce sweating
  • Muscle cramps, tone, and other heat exhaustion-related symptoms.

More severe Sunstroke/ Heat stroke is accompanied by signs and symptoms like

  • High body temperature
  • Dry and hot skin
  • Increased heartbeat
  • High-grade fever
  • Excessive thirst
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Agitation
  • Seizure
  • Coma etc.
  • In fact, some of the symptoms may be similar to that of a heart stroke. The temperature of the affected individual tends to rise to 1040F or even more.

Management of Heatstroke/ Sunstroke through Unani medicine

Unani medicine is a science of holistic health emphasizing mainly on particular regimens, diet, and drugs for human health care. In the management of heat/ sun stroke, we follow a similar pattern. Preventive measures, use of some specific regimens, diet and drugs are all adopted to manage the patient.


Sunstroke/ Heatstroke prevention tips

By following these tips one can avoid heat stroke, even if it is necessary to venture out in the heat or workout vigorously.

  • Always choose your clothes with care in summers and while going in the heat, opt for light fabrics in a loose fit, which will allow your skin to breathe easily.
  • Take sufficient quantity of water before going out in the sun.
  • Crush an onion and apply as a paste on the armpit and or on the groin for prevention from sunstroke.
  • Always use cap and natural sun lotion to protect yourself from the sun heat.
  • In case of high-grade fever, soak a piece of cloth in rose water and vinegar and apply frequently on the forehead.
  • Putting an ice bag or cube on the forehead is also good if the person suffering from high-grade fever.

Home-made remedies for Heatstroke/ Sunstroke

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In order to treat Sunstroke/ heat stroke, an Unani physician focuses on cooling the patient’s body so that the body reaches its normal temperature as soon as possible. Some of the simple home-made remedies are highly effective and are mostly advised by Unani scholars that include:

  • Apply the juice extracted from onions on the chest and behind the ears. It is one of the most highly recommended home remedies for Heatstroke/ sunstroke.
  • Roast some chopped onions in an open pan and add some cumin seed powder and a little bit of sugar in it. Consuming this mixture is another valuable home remedy for heat stroke.
  • Extract the juice of Raihan leaves (Holy basil) and add some sugar in it. Drinking this solution serves as a very therapeutic natural remedy to cure this condition.
  • Raw mango is one of the most popular natural home remedies for Heat Stroke prevention as well as cure. For this, take some raw mangoes, boil them and then soak them in cold water. Then, take the pulp of these mangoes and put it in a blender along with some coriander, cumin seeds, jaggery, salt, and pepper. Blend this mixture along with some water and have a cup full of this home medicine 3-4 times a day to prevent Heat Strokes and cure them too.
  • Another homemade remedy is to roast raw mango in coal ash, take the pulp of this roasted mango mixed with some sugar to reduce heat Stroke related symptoms.
  • Prepare a paste of black peppercorns in some coconut milk. Applying this cooling mixture on the body is an efficient home remedy used in the treatment of heat stroke.
  • Consume a mixture of buttermilk with a little bit of salt added to it. It is one of the most successful natural home remedies for Heat Stroke treatment.
  • Drink Aloe vera juice. It is one of the easiest natural home remedies for Heat Stroke.
  • Take a grinded mixture of 2 gm rose petals, 5 gm fennel seeds, 2 gm java flower and add some sugar or milk to it. Consume small amounts of this mixture for about three or four days while dealing with Heat Stroke.
  • Take coriander juice mixed with sugar. It is a simple natural home remedy used in the management of heat Strokes and other heat-related ailments.
  • Soak some plums in water until they become soft, mash these soft plums in the water itself and strain it. Drink this decoction before bedtime to heal this problem and its symptoms.
  • Raw mango is one of the most popular natural home remedies for Heatstroke/ sunstroke.
  • Prevention as well as cure. For this, take some raw mangoes, boil them and then soak them in cold water. Take 1 piece unripe mango, Keep the Mango in hot ash. Peel the skin, and extract the juice. Add about 200 ml of water. Sugar and Ice may be taken as per desired. In the case of Sunstroke and Heatstroke, one glass of the preparation may be taken thrice/ fourth times a day. Add tamarind pulp (15 gms) in boiling water, mix 3 pieces of Aaloo Bukhara and strain it. Drinking this decoction at least twice a day is a tried and tested natural remedy that is used to control the core temperature of the body. Or
  • Add tamarind pulp (15 gms) in boiling water, mix 3 pieces of Aaloo Bukhara in it. Soak in 200 ml of water for one hour, squeeze, strain and cool with ice.
  • Take dried edible parts of Bengal gram shrub. Grind it with 150 ml of water, strain and sweeten with sugar. It may be taken 3-4 times a day.

Recommended Diet for Heat Stroke

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Physicians claim that a diet for heat stroke can help prevent the problem to some extent because dietary recommendations for a heat stroke patient could be quite useful. The undermentioned list is of some of the adjustments one can make in his diet, after a heat stroke.

  • It is essential to include fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices in the regular diet to avoid heat-related illnesses, especially heat Strokes because dehydration is an important cause behind the incidence of heat Strokes. Water content is high in these items and that’s why they help to keep the body well hydrated.
  • Oranges, pineapples, watermelons, grapefruits, lemons, cantaloupes and similar fruits are very useful in this condition.
  • Drinking plenty of water is also necessary, especially before going out in the sun. It is highly recommended to drink an additional amount of fluids, like fresh juice or an energy drink as it could replenish the levels of water in your body.
  • Apart from that onions, mint, cucumber and yogurt should be positively included in the diet to prevent Heat Strokes. Not only due to its cooling effect, but these can also be great for the overall health.
  • It has been observed that low blood sugar can trigger the symptoms of heat Strokes. Add healthy sources of protein to your diet, which mainly include nuts, beans, pulses, and olive oil. This will increase blood sugar levels, thereby preventing heat strokes.
  • Up to some extent, peppermint tea and raspberry tea are found to be highly effective in providing relief from these symptoms.

Restricted Diet for Heat Stroke

  • Excessive consumption of salt adversely affects the functioning of normal sweat production, as salt is rich in sodium, and excess sodium could hamper the regular production of sweat in the body which in turn increases the risk of developing this heat illness.
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages should also be minimized because alcohol is known to increase heat in the body. In addition to this, caffeinated beverages induce frequent urination and cause unnecessary loss of water.

Data Collected From ‘National Health Portal’


Disclaimer: It is advised to visit the nearest authorized treatment centre for advice and treatment.

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