5 Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
During the summer, it can get hot and humid pretty quickly. However, there are plenty of adults and children who are still quite happy to time outside. Whether you are exercising, gardening or just spending the day at your local park, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion.
How Does Someone Become Overheated?
Everyone has a built-in mechanism that keeps them cool during warm or hot days. This mechanism, known as sweating, allows the body to release internal heat. When sweat evaporates off a person’s skin, the person feels cooler. As long as a person stays hydrated, they often have no trouble staying outdoors for hours.
A person may suffer heat exhaustion, a type of heat-related illness, when they are exposed to high temperatures in addition to high humidity levels. Essentially, the high humidity prevents sweat from evaporating as quickly. The sweat becomes a sort of insulation, causing the person’s internal body heat to continue to rise. In response, the body may produce more sweat, causing the person to quickly become dehydrated and begin to suffer from heat-related health problems.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
There are several major symptoms that could indicate a person is overheated. Their skin my feel clammy or cold and they may exhibit excessive sweating. They may experience muscle cramping and fatigue. They may also feel nauseous and even vomit. Young children are likely to become cranky.
If a person becomes extremely overheated, they could have some cognitive symptoms that could indicate that they are suffering from heat exhaustion. They could potentially become dizzy and faint. In worst case scenarios, they could show signs of shock. These include rapid, shallow breathing, a fast pulse and even unconsciousness. If a person is disoriented or unconscious, it is imperative that they get to a hospital as quickly as possible.
What to Do if Someone is Suffering from Heat Exhaustion
In general, someone who is suffering from heat exhaustion does not need to be taken to the hospital unless they have fainted, lost consciousness or cannot cool down. If this happens, emergency services should be called as soon as possible. Additionally, it is recommended that young children and elderly individuals should be taken to the hospital for treatment.
For other instances of suspected heat exhaustion, the person should be gotten out of the sun immediately. They should be given lots of water to get some fluids back into their body. Excess clothing, such as jackets, should be removed. If it is possible, sitting in an air-conditioned room or taking a cold bath can help get the person’s temperatures back down. If at any point they begin to feel worse or lose consciousness, they should go to the hospital.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion
If you are planning to spend the day outside and it is hot or humid, there are several things that you can do to prevent heat exhaustion. You can protect your skin from the sun by wearing light, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15. Additionally, bring water with you and stay as hydrated as possible. If you have young children with you, make sure that they are taking breaks to get a drink of water.
Even though the summer is all about spending time outdoors, always step inside for some cool-off time, especially if you are out during the hottest part of the day. If you have children who have been out running around all day, have them come inside for a cold snack and some water so they have a chance to sit for a bit.