Heat-Related Illness (HRI): Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Singapore’s temperature continues to soar higher. The meteorological service reported that 2024 has seen temperatures rise even higher than last year, which was Singapore’s fourth-warmest year since records began in 1929. May 13, 2023, marked the hottest day ever recorded in Singapore, with a maximum temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.

As Singapore faces rising temperatures due to climate change and the challenge of an increasingly older population, the incidence of heat-related illnesses (HRIs) is expected to rise. HRIs, including heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration, can pose serious health risks, particularly to vulnerable groups such as athletes, outdoor workers, and individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.

What causes heat-related illness?

Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to cool down effectively in hot and humid conditions. Factors contributing to HRIs include:

  • High temperatures: Especially during heatwaves.
  • Humidity: Which impairs sweat evaporation.
  • Strenuous activity: Increases internal heat production.
  • Dehydration: Insufficient fluid intake exacerbates heat stress.

Symptoms of heat-related illness

Symptoms can range from mild heat exhaustion to life-threatening heatstroke and may include:

  • Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache.
  • Heatstroke: High body temperature (above 40°C/104°F), confusion, rapid pulse, loss of consciousness.

Prevention of heat-related illness

Preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Stay cool: Seek shade, use fans or air conditioning, take cool showers.
  • Limit outdoor activity: Especially during peak sun hours (10 AM to 4 PM).
  • Wear appropriate clothing: Lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
  • Take breaks: Rest in shaded or cool areas during outdoor activities.
  • Know the signs: Recognize symptoms of heat-related illness and seek medical help promptly.

At IGAKU, we understand the importance of preventing heat-related illnesses, especially in hot and humid climates like Singapore. Book a consultation today to receive personalized guidance and support for staying safe during periods of high heat and humidity.

Ready to learn more about preventing heat-related illnesses and protecting your health? Book a consultation with IGAKU today. Our experts can provide comprehensive insights and tailored recommendations to help you stay cool, hydrated, and healthy in Singapore’s warm climate.

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