Nice To Know! JRCS Doctor and Nurse Shares Health Tips

"Watch out For Heat-related Illnesses!"

Dr.Takuro Nakada
Director, Department of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medical Center, Japanese Red Cross Shizuoka Hospital

"Heat-related illnesses" are what we call the physical disorders which occur in a hot-humid environment. Such an illness can become severe if the body runs short of water and salt and its natural temperature control mechanism stops functioning. Dizziness, headache, nausea, etc. set in and in severe cases, make the person feel groggy.. This kind of dehydration often affects younger or middle-aged people during exercise or work outdoors. However, elderly people often experience the symptoms while at home.

Although many people are careless while they are indoors, the older they are, the less they recognize the heat, the less they sense thirst, and the more often they neglect hydration. In addition, since their sweating function is also reduced, they lack sufficient thermoregulation. It is important for them to consciously replace fluids and to keep the room temperature down by using an air-conditioner or a fan.

Babies and young children are also vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, since their thermoregulation mechanism has not yet fully developed.. Young children short in height and babies in baby strollers are exposed to stronger heat reflected by the road than adults are. So this is something parents need to watch out for.

Of course the obvious vital course of action is to take in sufficient quantities of fluid and salt. But it is also worth trying to mitigate hot environments. Use a hat or a parasol outdoors and wear hygroscopic and breathable clothes. It is also important to get gradually adjusted to the heat before the real summer comes. Try to perform an appropriate amount of exercise (a walk for elderly people) and get used to sweating, from the rainy season onward, in order to build a body less likely to suffer heat-related illnesses.

To care for heat-related illnesses, rest in a shaded area first. .
It is also effective to cool the body using an electric or paper fan. Judgment on whether it is a heat-related illness is actually difficult because symptoms such as dizziness, headache, and nausea may be caused by other physical disorders. Call for an ambulance without any hesitation, in case the person shows confusion.