With the arrival of summer just around the corner, Japan is gradually getting warmer by the week.Last summer, Japan recorded the hottest summer it has ever experienced, at roughly 43-degree Celcius in many prefectures. Due to the sweltering heat, health problems began to pop up, and one of the most problematic of all is heatstroke.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that causes the body to be unable to function normally, increasing body temperature to above 40.5-degree celsius.
Asashi Newspaper reported that last summer, the number of deaths because of heatstroke reached 101 in Tokyo, a pretty stunning number when considering that 90% of these cases occur indoor.
Considering its danger, what can we do to prevent heatstroke while we are in Japan in summer?
2. Causes, Symptoms and Ways to Avoid it
Heatstroke occurs when body temperature goes above 40.5 degrees in extremely hot weather. After an extended period of exposure to heat, people who cannot adapt to the extreme temperature can be at risk of getting heatstroke. It is also highly possible for heatstroke to occur to people indoors.
Dehydration is also a major cause of heatstroke. It can come about because of several reasons, one of them being overexercising under the hot weather, which imbalances the salt and water in human bodies.
Senior citizens are also in disproportionate danger compared to young people, among Tokyo’s 101 deaths, 90% were senior citizens. Therefore, people aged 65 and older should be more prudent during the summer. People who are undergoing pregnancy or breastfeeding are also at higher risk.
Other than that, those who have the following symptoms should also be more cautious: overweight, chronic diseases such as heart or diabetes.
Recognizing heatstroke early is of importance to have timely solutions. Signs and symptoms include:
- Headache, dizzy
- Nausea, vomiting
- Intensive thirst
- Loss of consciousness
- Hot and dry red skin, lack sweating
- Hard to speak, rapid and shallow breath
- Unable to concentrate or stand
How can we avoid heatstroke during the summer?
There are several ways that you can do to prevent from getting heatstroke:
- Staying hydrated: Dehydrating is one of the causes of heatstroke so it is vital to stay hydrated. Be sure to drink enough water every day.
- Eating salted candy when engaging in exercises or venturing out apparently also helps prevent heatstroke.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- Since extended exposure to heat is also a major cause of heatstroke, try to limit the frequency and period of exposure to the sun when going out.
Things like UV protection umbrella, UV protection clothes or even simply covering your body and face can help reduce the risk of getting heatstroke.
- Cooling wipe and spray: These products are quite popular when summer comes and you can purchase them at drugstores or supermarkets.
- Keep your house cool – several ways to do this include:
– Use air-conditioning: Using Tokyo’s numbers again, last year, 38 out of 101 cases happened indoor where air conditioning wasn’t available. Thus, make sure to turn your air-conditioning on when it is too hot to endure and keep room temperature to around 27-degree celsius.
– Use summer blanket or bed sheet: These products can be found in some stores such as Shimamura or can be purchased online. Using them can cool your body and thus prevent your body from getting heatstroke as well as make you feel comfortable at home.
– Use curtain and cover windows with bubble wrap: On Amazon, Rakuten, and other online markets, curtains that can block heat and sunlight are widely sold. One traditional curtain called Sudare Curtain has been around for years and is a traditional go-to solution for the Japanese. Also, you can purchase bubble wrappings to cover glass windows.
- When someone has heatstroke:
- Give them water and help them move to a darker place with shades: As the most important thing to do if one has heatstroke is to lower their body temperature as soon as possible.
- Call 119: because it is a life-threatening condition, calling 119 and inform them about the condition of the patient is of priority.
Summer in Japan can be harsh. Understanding basic information about heatstroke can be of importance to cope with summer when you live in Japan.