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The importance of staying cool in the summer heat in Turkey

14th August 2014

Thousands of holidaymakers will be heading off this summer to Turkey. Its important to remember that keeping cool in Turkeys searing heat with temperatures that can reach up to the 40°c’s in the height of summer isn't just about comfort. You could be putting your health at risk.

Many health advisers suggest not to have prolonged periods of time in the hot sun, apart from looking like you have taken a swim in a volcano you could well have a chance of getting serious heat-related health problem such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke or heat cramps.

Heat exhaustion is a relatively common reaction to hot temperatures.

Warning signs

•   Heavy sweating

•   Feeling weak and/or confused

•   Dizziness/fainting

•   Nausea

•   Headache

•   Fast heartbeat

•   Dark-colored urine, which indicates dehydration

What should I do if I think I have heat exhaustion?

Rest in a building that has air-conditioning. If you can't get inside, find a cool, shady place. Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Do NOT drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks (such as soda). These can make heat exhaustion worse. Take a cool shower or bath, or apply cool water to your skin. Take off any tight or unnecessary clothing.If you do not feel better within 30 minutes, you should contact your doctor. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can progress to heatstroke.

What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke is when the internal temperature of the body reaches 104°F. It can happen when your body gets too hot during strenuous exercise or when exposed to very hot temperatures, or it can happen after heat exhaustion isn't properly treated. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. Heatstroke can cause damage to your organs and brain. In extreme cases, it can kill you.

Symptoms of heatstroke

•   High fever (104°F or higher)

•   Severe headache

•   Dizziness and feeling light-headed

•   A flushed or red appearance to the skin

•   Lack of sweating

•   Muscle weakness or cramps

•   Nausea

•   Vomiting

•   Fast heartbeat

•   Fast breathing

•   Feeling confused, anxious or disoriented

•   Seizures

What should I do if I think someone has heatstroke?

Seek medical advice straight away - heatstroke can be fatal

Try to cool the person down. You can also apply ice packs to the person's armpits, groin, neck and back. These areas contain a lot of blood vessels close the surface of the skin. Cooling them with ice packs can help the person cool down.

Get medical help right away if you have these warning signs:

•   Skin that feels hot and dry, but not sweaty

•   Confusion or loss of consciousness

•   Frequent vomiting

•   Shortness of breath or trouble breathing

Do medicines affect heatstroke?
The following are some medicines that can put you in danger of heatstroke because they affect the way your body reacts to heat:

•   Allergy medicines (antihistamines)

•   Some blood pressure and heart medicines (beta-blockers and vasoconstrictors)

•   Diet pills and illegal drugs such as cocaine (amphetamines)

•   Laxatives

•   Some medicines that treat mental health conditions (antidepressants and antipsychotics)

•   Seizure medicines (anticonvulsants)

•   Water pills (diuretics)

The body's early warning reactions to excessive heat:
Heat rash and muscle cramps are early signs of people being overwhelmed by heat. If those aren't dealt with, it can lead to more severe symptoms. 
People should be aware that their skin turning red and dry are indicators that heat is impacting them.


Staying cool

•   Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

•   Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat or using an umbrella.

•   Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.

•   Drink extra water all day.

•   Drink Ayran – a lack of salt in the body can lead to heat exhaustion.

•   Drink fewer beverages that contain caffeine (such as tea, coffee and soda) or alcohol.

•   use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don't forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat - related illnesses too

•   Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.

•  Run your wrists under a cold tap for five seconds each every couple of hours. Because a main vein passes through this area, it helps cool the blood.

•   Take a tepid bath or shower just below body temperature, especially before bedtime. Although a cold shower might sound more tempting, your body generates heat afterwards to compensate for the heat loss.

While you're out, keep the villa/hotel curtains closed to stop it heating up like a greenhouse.


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