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Children, the elderly and the chronically ill are the most vulnerable to high temperatures

Hospital Parque family doctor Nicolás Maffiotte insists on the need to take extreme precautions in high temperatures to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

According to Nicolás Maffiotte, a family doctor at Nicolás Maffiotte Parque Hospital, certain population groups, including children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or mental or renal illnesses, are particularly susceptible to high temperatures. Therefore, it is crucial to take extreme precautions to avoid potentially serious complications.

Maffiotte emphasizes the importance of implementing preventive measures. These include refraining from engaging in sports or outdoor work during the hottest hours, wearing lightweight and light-colored clothing, staying well-hydrated, avoiding alcoholic beverages and heavy meals, and resting when feeling exhausted.

Exposure to high temperatures and humidity can result in elevated body temperature, leading to heat exhaustion. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, dry mouth, intense thirst, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

In the case of heat stroke, Maffiotte explains that body temperature can rise to 39 and 40 degrees Celsius. The skin may become red, dry, and hot, breathing and heart rate increase, and there may be an alteration in consciousness, potentially leading to convulsions and even death.

To address both heat exhaustion and heat stroke, immediate action is necessary. The patient should be moved to a shaded area or a cool room, provided with water or unsweetened natural juices, their clothing should be removed, and cold showers may be given. Seeking medical assistance is also crucial.

High temperatures: food poisoning and gastroenteritis

Furthermore, the rise in temperature is associated with an increased risk of other illnesses, such as food poisoning and gastroenteritis. Maffiotte explains that heat promotes the growth of bacteria and viruses in improperly stored food and liquids. Additionally, inadequate food preservation practices contribute to the presence of spoiled food due to breaks in the cold chain.

Viral gastroenteritis typically presents symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. These symptoms can be alleviated by replacing fluids and adopting a soft diet. Bacterial gastroenteritis, on the other hand, includes fever alongside the aforementioned symptoms, and severe cases may require hospitalization. Treatment for bacterial gastroenteritis involves fluid intake and, in certain cases, the use of antibiotics.

Maffiotte underscores the significance of maintaining proper dietary and hygiene habits as a primary preventive measure. This includes ensuring the correct preservation of food, washing all raw food products, and exercising caution when consuming sauces and mayonnaise, particularly homemade ones.

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