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Samantha Daly

What To Know About Heat-Related Illness

What To Know About Heat-Related Illness

Heat-related illnesses occur when your body cannot properly cool itself, and your internal temperature reaches a dangerous level. Naturally, your body produces sweat, which cools your skin as it evaporates. However, on hot, humid days, the increased moisture in the air makes this process less effective, often leading to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

 

Heat Exhaustion

 

Description. Heat exhaustion is the heat illness most often caused by exercise and dehydration in conditions that range from mild heat to extreme heat environments. Your skin becomes cold to the touch even though you feel hot. If you continue to exert yourself you will likely experience nausea, dizziness, heat cramps and a headache. It is vitally important to recognize these symptoms and get out of the sun and heat as soon as possible to avoid sunstroke, which is much more serious.

 

Signs. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

Heavy sweating

  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Heat cramps
  • Nausea
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting

 

Treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, move to a cool place, out of the sun, and loosen your clothes. Place cool, wet washcloths on your body or take a cool bath. Slowly sip cool water. Get medical help if you are throwing up or have symptoms that worsen or last longer than an hour, as these are indications of heat stroke.

 

Heat Stroke

 

Description. Heat stroke is a heat illness when your internal temperature reaches 104°F. At this temperature your organs begin to fail if the body is not cooled quickly. It is referred to as heat “stroke” because it can cause the brain to swell, resulting in permanent damage or even death.

 

Signs. Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Body temperature at or above 104°F
  • Hot, red skin (heat rash)
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Lack of sweating
  • Heat cramps
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

 

Treatment. Call 911 immediately, heat stroke is a medical emergency. Move the person to a cooler place with air conditioning and lower their body temperature with cool cloths until help arrives. Do not give the person anything to drink. Reaching an emergency room should be a top priority.

 

Heat-related illnesses can lead to serious symptoms and ultimately be fatal if not treated properly. Take precautions when you will be outside for long periods in hot or humid weather – wear lightweight clothing and drink lots of fluids when experiencing a heat illness. If you find yourself or someone with you experiencing the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take actions to lessen their symptoms and seek medical attention. Remaining aware of your condition and knowing when to seek help can prevent permanent damage.

 

Have you been the victim of a heat-related illness? Share your story to help others in the Members Only Group.

 

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