Everyone loves summer. Long days, warm sunshine, fun at the beach, and family vacations. However, warm weather months also bring with them the risk of heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Keep you and your family safe this summer by learning about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion is often a precursor and warning sign of an impending heat stroke. Heat stroke can damage your brain and other organ systems and can even be deadly.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion, it’s important to address them as soon as possible before they progress to heat stroke. WebMD explains that “heat exhaustion is a heat related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures.”
There are two different kinds of heat exhaustion: water depletion, and salt depletion. Symptoms may come on suddenly or develop over time and can include rapid heartbeat, heavy sweating, goosebumps even though it’s hot outside, feeling faint or dizzy, fatigue, low blood pressure, muscle cramps, nausea, and headache.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion often appear due to the combination of hot weather, high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. If you begin to experience signs of heat exhaustion, it’s important to stop what you’re doing immediately and rest.
Move to a cooler location, inside with air conditioning or in a shady spot. Rehydrate and replenish by drinking cool water or a sports drink that contains electrolytes. Don’t continue pushing yourself if you start to develop the symptoms of heat exhaustion.
If it progresses to heat stroke, you could suffer serious medical complications. If your symptoms get worse, don’t improve, or you have a high temperature, seek medical attention immediately.
Get the most out of your summer by getting plenty of water and rest during outdoor activities. Listen to what your body is telling you, and if you are doing too much, stop. If you organize outdoor recreational activities for groups, make sure you have plenty of water on hand for all participants. Remind children to take breaks from play to stay hydrated, and ensure that all of your four-legged friends always have ready access to clean water, especially during the warm weather months.
Make sure you never leave a child or animal locked in a car, nearly 40 children die every year from the complications of heat stroke after being left in a hot vehicle. If you have small children, consider a car seat upgrade for extra safety. Some newer models are equipped with sensors to warn parents that a child has been left inside a car with the ignition off.