The summer days are really heating up! The mercury is rising and high temperatures can lead to real life-threatening situations. Today we are going to look at heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Fortunately heat exhaustion can easily be treated by cooling down. However you need to know the symptoms so you can determine if you need to stop what you are doing. When we are hot, we naturally perspire. You need to watch for excessive sweating, which can lead to muscle cramps, headache, and being really thirsty. Also if not treated, you can develop dizziness, confusion, loss of appetite, nausea, and fast breathing. In children especially, they will show signs of lethargy.
If you notice these symptoms, cool off as fast as possible. Get them out of the sun. Lay them down and slightly raise their feet. Put cold packs around neck and armpits. Fan them off and/or spritz with cool water. Make sure they drink water or a drink filled with electrolytes. A person experiencing heat exhaustion should feel better in about 30 minutes. If so, no further treatment is usually necessary.
If after 30 minutes of cooling a person down and their condition does not improve, then he/she might have heat stroke. This condition is very serious and even life-threatening. In addition to all the symptoms of heat exhaustion, there are more concerning symptoms with heat stroke. First a person can stop sweating even though they are hot. This is a sign of dehydration. He/She can lose consciousness or become really confused. A person can even have a seizure. Needless to say, medical attention is necessary. Heat stroke does kill. Unfortunately, about 1,300 people in the United States die each year of heat stroke.
Exercising or working outdoors during the heat of the day can lead to either heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Try to do your hardest physical work when the temps are cooler in the evening or morning. Stay hydrated. Know the signs to look for in yourself and in others. You might just save a life this summer. Stay safe while things are heating up!