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Insolation:beware, danger!

Insolation:beware, danger! When heat becomes excessive, the body's internal thermostat loses control. It can no longer regulate the temperature. It's sunstroke, a big heat stroke that you have to be wary of.

Even when you like summer, too much heat is a real attack on the body .

The hypothalamus, the gland in the brain that orchestrates the production of sweat and the triggering of thirst, is overwhelmed by the situation. It struggles to maintain body temperature around 37°C, the most conducive to the optimal functioning of vital organs. Hyperthermia awaits , with its attendant potentially serious side effects.

Symptoms of sunstroke

Hyperthermia can result in various symptoms:redness in the face, headaches, diffused pain, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea andvomiting . In the most critical cases, an increase in respiratory rate and heart rate may occur, as well as a drop in blood pressure , a state of mental confusion and a feeling of oppression which can lead to fainting .

Young children and the elderly, in whom the thermal adaptation capacities are less, are particularly at risk.

The reflexes to adopt under the sun

"To prevent the symptoms from getting worse, you have to quickly lower the body temperature", explains Dr. Loïc Etienne, emergency physician, co-author of You have the power to change your health* (Ed. Marabout).

Lie down in a cool place and pass damp cloths over your body, especially your arms, neck and forehead. You should also drink plenty of water or lukewarm linden infusion in small sips to rehydrate and bring down the fever.

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But in case of significant nausea, agitation, great fatigue, loss of consciousness or temperature above 39.5°C, it is imperative to see a doctor quickly or to call the Samu (15). Hospitalization may be necessary because neurological, cardiac or renal damage is to be feared.

How to avoid it?

The best prevention is to not expose yourself to the sun during the hottest hours, between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. . But other situations are also at risk.

In the passenger compartment of the car, which behaves like a greenhouse under the effect of the infrared rays of the sun, the thermometer can climb very quickly up to 50°C. To avoid this pitfall, do not roll all the windows closed and place sun visors (or wet beach towels) on the rear windows of the vehicle. Or turn on the air conditioning. And, above all, never leave children or animals inside a closed car, even for a quick shopping spree.

Athletes must also be extra vigilant because practising intense physical activity induces internal heat production . So no jogging or cycling or ping-pong tournament in the middle of a summer day. Hikers should favor light-coloured clothing, which absorbs less infrared radiation, and wear a hat.

Also beware of alcohol, which promotes dehydration and disrupts the body's natural thermal regulation.

(*) You have the power to change your health by Dr. Loïc Etienne de Rica Étienne (Ed. Marabout). Available on Place des Libraires and Amazon

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