Dr Nighat Arif recommends three ingredients to avoid heat exhaustion

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Millions of people are at risk of dehydration, nausea, and fatigue – the warning signs of heat exhaustion. In the hope of lowering the number of casualties, Dr Nighat Arif shares her expertise. Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Dr Nighat revealed there are 2,000 deaths in England every year due to a heatwave. The most at risk include children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions, such as:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • Mobility problems
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Menopausal women.

 

How to be safe in the sun

“Preparation is absolutely always key,” said Dr Nighat, listing the usual protective measures one would naturally think of when it comes to being sun safe.

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This included sunscreen, drinking lots of water (two to four litres daily), and neck cold packs.

Then Dr Nighat added in a curve ball, suggesting “ice chips” are a great way to remain hydrated due to its water content.

“Especially if it’s got a little bit of sugar and salt in it, as that will hydrate you better,” the doctor added.

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Dr Nighat stated that during the heatwave, our body is trying to get our core temperature remaining between 36-37C.

“The blood vessels raise up in our bloodstream, we end up expending heat, that sweating process is trying to cool us down,” Dr Nighat elaborated.

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“It’s that strain [of trying to keep cool] that puts us into heat exhaustion.”

One useful, easy way to determine whether you’re currently dehydrated is to pinch the skin on the back of the hand.

“If it falls right back, then you know you are hydrated,” said Dr Nighat.

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“But if it takes about two to three seconds to ping back, then you know that you’re lacking in fluids.”

“Dehydration is dangerous,” warned Dr Nighat, because it can lead to heat exhaustion.

“That can lead into heat strokes,” the doctor added, detailing the warning signs.

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Considered a medical emergency – warranting a prompt call to 999 – signs of heatstroke include:

  • Severe lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness.

To help prevent heatstroke, if you experience heat exhaustion, it’s necessary to “get to a shady area”.

“Sit in front of a fan if needs be,” added Dr Nighat, “and put ice cubes in front of the fan.”

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Increase your fluid intake and, when possible, take a cool shower, and use cool packs under your armpits.

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