Being exposed to hot weather and high temperatures can sometimes cause you to feel unwell, with symptoms that include fatigue, dizziness, and intense thirst.

These mild symptoms usually disappear once you’ve had some water, rested for a few minutes, and found some shade or moved to a cooler spot. But sometimes, the symptoms can escalate into heatstroke—a serious form of hyperthermia and dehydration that deprives your body of the ability to control its internal temperature. Heatstroke is usually the result of inadequate hydration. In such cases, instead of releasing excess heat through sweat, the body holds onto all of its liquids to maintain its vital functions. Without adequate perspiration, the body’s internal temperature can shoot up to 40 degrees or more, which can cause severe organ damage and even be fatal. Anyone can suffer from heatstroke especially during heat waves or intense physical activities where the body has to adapt quickly to high temperatures and humidity. However, there are also specific risk factors: being very young, old or overweight. The key to preventing heatstroke is to drink enough water, avoid intense physical activity or spending too much time in the sun, especially between 11 and 4 o’clock, choose cool and air conditioned locations, avoid alcoholic, sweet or caffeinated drinks because they dehydrate, keep an eye on heat and humidity warnings in the media and last but not least, learn to recognize the warning signs of an heatstroke. For more information, just ask your healthcare professional!

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