Dr. Vaishak Vidyadhar, Physician with The Bangalore Hospital, Bangalore, India talks on a common medical condition called heat syncope. Heat syncope is also termed as orthostatic dizziness. Fainting due to heat or in hot weather conditions is fairly common. It is one of the mildest forms of heat-related illness.
“The reason for fainting due to heat happens as a result of prolonged standing in the hot weather or external environment. The blood vessels of the body dilate because of the heat, lowering the blood pressure. The body fluids begin to accumulate in the lower limbs, decreasing the supply of blood to the heart and the brain.”
Often people experience heat syncope on suddenly rising from a sitting or lying position. Farmers, security guards, athletes, people working in heavy industries, working or living in very hot climatic conditions are prone to heat-related illnesses such as fainting.
The sign of heat syncope are:
- Sudden loss of consciousness or fainting
- Tunnel vision
- Paleness or sweating
- Weak pulse
The first aid to the individual suffering from syncope is:
- Make the person lie down in a cooler place
- Make the person drink water or a clear juice
- Elevate the legs so that the blood flow becomes normal
There is almost immediate regain of consciousness, and the person is normally fit to carry on with his or her work (non-strenuous).
Follow these simple preventive measures to avoid heat syncope:
- Remain hydrated during hot weather or your working condition
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Wear clothes that block heat rays
- Avoid going out in hot weather
- Exercising in cooler conditions
In case the person is not regaining unconsciousness or there is no improvement in his vital signs, it is advisable to seek medical attention.