The chilly season brought by the northeast monsoon or "hanging amihan" is officially over. In the past weeks of March, we have experienced a gradual increase in temperature, and this is a sign that the hotter days are coming. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA, the "dry" season might start this week which means that the "summer" season is definitely here.

While we start our bucket list of things to do this summer, we should also take extra precaution as too much heat not only causes discomfort but it can lead to some illnesses and health risks.

People should be aware that heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures, usually in combination with dehydration leads to failure of the body's temperature control system. The medical definition of heatstroke is a core body temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Fainting may be the first sign of heat stroke but other symptoms include throbbing headache, dizziness and light-headedness, lack of sweating despite the heat, red, hot, and dry skin, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak, rapid, shallow breathing, behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering, seizures, and unconsciousness.

Medical experts suggest the following precautionary measures to avoid the occurrence of heat stroke in the midst of the increasing temperature in the country. As much as possible, it's best to stay in an air-conditioned environment when the heat index is high. For those who need to go out, it is advised that lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat must be worn. Put on sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more.

Drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration. Consume at least eight glasses of water, fruit juice, or vegetable juice per day. Whenever possible, when exercising or working outdoors, at least 24 ounces of fluid must be taken two hours before exercise, and another 8 ounces of water or sports drink right before exercise. During exercise, another 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes is still recommended.

If time permits, it is best to reschedule or cancel outdoor activity. Also consider doing outdoor tasks at the coolest times of the day which happens either early morning or after sunset.

Summer is fun, however everyone must take the necessary precautions to prevent all possible medical troubles caused the scorching heat of the sun.