Causes and Symptoms: In India these disorders strike people in summer when the temperature rises. All the living or moving about in open air without proper clothing or precautions are more susceptible than others. Profuse sweating due to atmospheric heat leads to severe loss of vital salts in the body. This condition is often known as heat exhaustion. It develops and in this condition the patient feels faint and may even fall unconscious. Another reason for heat exhaustion is dehydration, which may also result in unconsciousness.
Heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke. The latter is characterized by high fever, absence of sweating, thirst, a rapid pulse, confusion, and, also sometimes, loss of consciousness.
The fever of heat stroke comes on suddenly, with the temperature rising from 41.1°C to 42.2°C. Anal temperature sometimes touches 44.5°C. Severe ache in the body, particularly in the head, is followed by confusion, cramps, a sense of impending doom, and loss of consciousness. If immediate steps are not taken, the patient may die of dyspnoea i.e. difficulty in breathing.
Home Remedies: In case the temperature reaches 40°C and appears to rise further, immediate steps should be taken. The patient must be stripped of all his clothes and his body wrapped in a sheet soaked in iced water. Alternatively, he should be made to lie down under a shower bath and his body cooled till the temperature returns to 38.9°C When the temperature starts falling and the pulse shows signs of weakness, 50 to 75 ml of Mritsanjivani Sura should be given.
Diet and Other Regimen: 'Prevention is better than cure' is very much applicable in the disease of heat stroke than to any other illness. One should take care to take water at frequent intervals during summer. A little salt may be added to it before one goes outdoors in the summer sun. This will maintain the balance of the vital salts in the body. Panna i.e. soup made of raw mangoes, taken once during the day, helps in preventing heat stroke. Drinking liquids, even if one does not feel thirsty, is essential in summer. This prevents the body fluids from falling below the minimum levels due to excessive sweat and perspiration.
The patient may be kept on a normal diet depending on his appetite which is affected in some cases of fever. Hard-to-digest foods should be avoided. Whenever one goes out in summer, the head and the back of the neck should be covered with a thick cloth. During heat exhaustion or a heat stroke, the use of purgatives should be avoided.