How to handle the heat

Beaches and swimming pools are packed, air conditioners have been fired up after a long winter’s nap, and cold drinks are flying off the shelves. While we are all trying to keep cool, the Monaco government has issued a few directives to encourage people to keep an eye on their health and the health of those around them.

With the rising temps comes the possibility of heat or sun stroke, dehydration and the decline in general well-being.

Knowing the signs can help prevent potentially dangerous situations.

Heat stroke is marked by high fever, loss of consciousness and hot, red, dry skin.  A person suffering from heat stroke has lost the ability to regulate body temperature and has also ceased to sweat, which is the body’s go-to for cooling. It can come on very fast and must be treated promptly to avoid permanent neurological damage. Children and the elderly are most at risk, as are athletes who do not compensate for water loss by taking a lot of liquids.

Dehydration is a far easier fix and can be rectified by drinking water. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks as they can make dehydration worse.

Something many of us don’t consider is the effect heat has on those taking certain medications. Clearly, if you are taking your medications correctly and not allowing heat-related factors to come into play, they are perfectly safe. Unless instructed by a doctor, do not cease taking anything prescribed. A few drugs to watch out for listed are below.

People who use diuretics or medicines containing diuretic properties should do so with care. These cause dehydration and can cause serious trouble.

Certain anti-depressants inhibit sweating, lithium salts can be toxic if a person is not properly hydrated and neuroleptics can cause body temperature to rise due to disruptions to the internal thermostat.

Additionally, anti-inflammatories, some antibiotics, anti-virals and migraine medicines can be dangerous if dehydrated.

In general, the elderly, the young, and the already unwell are at highest risk, but heat affects us all. Preventative measures are the best weapons and are simple to adhere to. Wear lightweight and light-coloured clothing, drink plenty of liquids and stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day. 

Following these few easy rules will help ensure we all make it out of this heat wave in good shape.