As the mercury soars, so do the number of people suffering from heat-related health conditions such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are the least serious of the three problems and usually occur if there is intense physical exertion.

Heat exhaustion is the most common and leads to symptoms such as weak, rapid pulse; low blood pressure; headache; nausea and dizziness.

Heat stroke that is the most serious heat-related illness, and can even turn life-threatening. The symptoms include extremely high body temperature, burning sensation in the skin, no sweating, rapid and strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, disorientation and, at times, unconsciousness.

Doctors advise avoiding direct sun exposure, especially during peak afternoon hours, covering the head with a scarf, cap or an umbrella and wearing loose, light coloured cotton clothes that allow the seat to get evaporated.

“It is best to avoid the sun between 11 am and 4 pm. But if you must step out then drink at least a couple of glasses of water immediately before you leave home. Carry a water bottle and keep sipping a glass of water every hour. To replenish lost salts and minerals, take buttermilk, coconut water or lime water,” said Dr Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant, internal medicine, Max Super-specialty Hospital, Saket.

Tips to beat the scorching heat

  • Drink cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages. Caffeine, found in tea coffee and colas and alcohol tends to dehydrate.
  • Avoid extremely cold liquids as they can cause stomach cramps
  • Drink a glass of water every two hours even if you are not thirsty, and every hour if you are out in the sun.
  • Start your day with a couple of glasses of water
  • While exercising, sip on a mixture of lemon water, sugar and salt every 15min
  • Avoid peak sun hours between noon and 3 pm.
  •  If you must go out, drink a couple of glasses of water before stepping out.
  • Carry a bottle of water and sip frequently; at least a glass every hour when in the sun.
  • Increase your overall fluid intake in the summer months. You should aim to have at least 3 litres in 24 hours in the heat.
  • Munch on food items that have high water content such as watermelon, pineapple, cucumber etc
  • Take a cold bath if you feel very hot
  • Wear loose, lightweight and light-coloured clothes.
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the day
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, or use an umbrella if going out