“My bowl is the sky,
And I drink at my eye,
Till I feel in the brain
A Delphian pain

On the green of the hill
We will drink our fill
of golden sunshine
till our brains intertwine”

- wrote John Keats when he was aware of his approaching death in his famous poem “A Draught of Sunshine”. He was in my opinion, describing the heat stroke. With the mercury skyrocketing, an average of over 2 deg Celsius rise in global temperature this summer, we are truly “#fried”

Mercy O Mercury!!!

Heat stroke is a medical condition when your body overheats and does not cool down properly. Your body’s natural cooling mechanisms like sweating becomes overwhelmed, goes haywire and your body temperature rises to a dangerous temperature.

How to recognise?

High temperature (over 40 degree Celsius) + Headache + fatigue + giddiness + vomiting = Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion + confusion = Heat stroke

Elderly, marathon runners, patients with cardiac disease, and ethanolics are highly prone to heat illness.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition, that can lead to multi-organ injury and death.

So How do we “Beat it”?

We can surely “Beat it”–borrowing the powerful words of our ever-favourite King of Pop

  • B
    Beware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion/stroke
  • E
    Eat and drink food with high water content as in watermelon, cucumber, curd, buttermilk, tender coconut, musk melon, amla juice. Avoid high salted foods, caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol as these can cause dieresis (excess urination) and dehydrates the body.
  • A
    Attire – Wear light colour loose cotton outfits, use sunscreen lotion with High SPF, accessorize with sun glasses, hats
    Aqua – Drink at least 3 litres of water every day. Water stored in earthen pots has a natural cooling effect.
  • T
    Think - out your plan for the day and complete your outings before peak heat hours.

What is the first aid for a heat illness? Remember our Captain Cool DHONI

  • D
    Dispose of excess clothing
  • H
    Hospital if confused or decreased consciousness
  • O
    Oral rehydration solution(ORS)
  • N
    No role of paracetamol
  • I
    Immerse in cool water in bathtub/pool; spray body with cool water and blow dry with fans
Dr Vidya Saketharaman

Dr Vidya Saketharaman
Consultant Emergency Medicine
Kauvery Hospital Chennai


Write a comment

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.



Find a Doctor Teleconsultation Emergency