Heat stroke is one of the most serious and dangerous heat illnesses out there, but heat exhaustion comes before it and it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms before it turns into something worse. Heat stroke can happen at any time, but it most often happens in the summer time or on a sunny vacation with prolonged exposure to the heat. Heat stroke can happen as a result of low fluid levels in your body or severe dehydration, so it’s essential to get cool and replenish fluids as quickly as possible. Here are 7 natural remedies for heat stroke and dehydration.
What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is a severe type of heat illness caused by severe dehydration or your body overheating, most often as a result of long, extreme exposure to the sun. When heat stroke happens, the person doesn’t sweat enough to lower their body temperature. Most people refer to heat exhaustion as heat stroke, since heat exhaustion is much more common. When talking about natural remedies below, we’re referring to heat exhaustion, but note that if heat exhaustion actually turns into heat stroke, it’s incredibly dangerous and you need to seek medical attention immediately.
What Causes Heat Stroke?
Our bodies create a large amount of internal heat and normally we’re able to cool ourselves off by sweating and radiating heat through the skin. In circumstances such as extreme heat, high humidity or extended activity in the hot sun, this cooling system can begin to fail. If a person becomes dehydrated and can’t sweat enough to cool their body, their internal temperature may rise to dangerous levels and result in heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke.
Non exertional heat stroke occurs as a result of exposure to a hot environment. It typically happens after exposure to hot, humid weather, especially for prolonged periods. It often occurs in older adults and people with chronic illness.
Exertional heat stroke is caused by an increase in core temperature brought on by intense physical activity in hot weather. It can affect anyone, but it’s most likely to occur if you’re not used to high temperatures.
In both types of heat stroke, it can be triggered by wearing excess clothing, drinking alcohol or not consuming enough fluids and becoming dehydrated. Certain medications can also put you in danger of heat stroke, including antibiotics, allergy medications, antidepressants and antipsychotics, laxatives, prescription acne medications and certain diet pills.
9 Signs of Heat Stroke
1. Very high body temperature
2. Flushed skin
3. Hot, dry skin with no sweating, or profuse sweating
4. Confusion and slurred speech
5. Altered mental state or behaviour
6. Nausea and vomiting
7. Rapid breathing
8. Racing heart rate or slow heart rate
9. Throbbing headache
When to See a Doctor
When heat exhaustion turns to heat stroke it can be very dangerous. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage to your brain, heart and other vital organs that can result in death. Be sure to contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don’t improve after one hour. If you’re with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if they become confused or agitated, lose consciousness or are unable to drink. You need urgent medical attention if your temperature reaches 104 F or higher from heat stroke.
7 Natural Remedies for Heat Stroke
1. Drink Lots of Water
First things first, if you’re experiencing heat exhaustion, it’s super important to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, especially if you’re outside in the heat. Make sure not to drink any caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration. If you can get your hands on some coconut water, it will help rehydrate your body by naturally balancing your body’s electrolytes.
2. Cool Yourself Down
Try to cool down your body temperature in any way you can. Take a cool shower, soak in a cool bath, or put towels soaked in cool water on your skin. If you’re outside, it’s ideal to get into an air conditioned building, but at least try to get into the shade or sit in front of a fan. Rest on your back with your legs elevated higher than your heart.
3. Apply Aloe Vera Gel
The leaves and inner gel of the aloe vera plant can help cool down body temperature. It’s high in vitamins and minerals and is an adaptogen, which means it can boost the body’s ability to adapt to external changes. Apply aloe vera gel to your skin for a cooling effect. You can use the inside gel of a fresh plant or pure aloe vera gel.
4. Drink Buttermilk
Drinking buttermilk can help cool down your body and improve metabolism. It’s chock full of probiotics, and helps replenish vitamins and minerals that may be lost due to excessive sweating. If you’re feeling drained by the heat, it can help restore your body’s natural energy. Drink a glass of cold buttermilk with some yogurt or honey to enhance the flavour.
5. Onion Juice
It may sound a bit unappealing, but onion juice can help treat heat stroke by bringing the body temperature down and alleviating common heat stroke symptoms. Apply it behind your ears and on your chest for best results. Once your symptoms are gone, it also may be helpful to drink a teaspoon of onion juice mixed with some honey twice a day for a few days.
6. Aam Panna (Raw Mango Drink)
Aam panna is an Indian drink known for its cooling properties, that can quickly soothe a heat stroke-affected body. It’s made with raw mangoes and cooling spices, like cumin, fennel, pepper and kala namak, which provide instant energy and electrolytes. This is a great drink to have on hand, especially during the summertime. Check out this aam panna recipe by Veg Recipes of India to make in bulk and stock in your fridge!
7. Mint and Coriander Juice
Mint and coriander both have a cooling effect on the body. Extracting the juice of mint and coriander leaves and adding a pinch of sugar is a good way to try to bring down body heat. Coriander juice is also known as a great remedy for reducing menopausal hot flashes, and can be applied to hot skin for relief.
Heat stroke is nothing to joke about. If you’re experiencing signs of heat exhaustion, try these remedies and if they don’t work to cool you down, seek medical attention.
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