Beat Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration by Staying Cool This Summer
Heat exhaustion occurs when someone becomes dehydrated and ill due to heat. Some of the symptoms include headaches, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, excessive sweating and fatigue, among others. If not treated, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke, which is a potentially fatal medical emergency that can result in a coma or seizures.
If you suspect that someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, there are several steps that can be taken to cool the individual down:
- The person should be moved to a shady place or indoors where air conditioning is available.
- Any excess clothing should be removed to help the person feel more comfortable.
- You can pour old water over the person from heat exhaustion. You can also pack icepacks around them if they are available.
- If their symptoms persist or you cannot get them cooled down, it is essential to contact emergency services.
Dehydration occurs when someone’s body does not have enough water or electrolytes to function properly. Most of the body’s water is lost through sweating on hot days. Someone who is experiencing dehydration may have a number of symptoms, including sudden headaches, nausea, dizziness and even shortness of breath. Severe dehydration can be life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention. Symptoms for severe dehydration include extreme thirst, unconsciousness, fever, low blood pressure, rapid breathing and an inability to sweat or urinate.
There are simple treatments for mild dehydration:
- Water intake should be increased by frequently drinking small amounts. Drinking a large amount of water or other fluids all at once could lead to illness and vomiting.
- Sucking on ice chips can ensure that fluids are going back into the body slowly.
- Eating ice pops can help balance electrolytes. Popular sports drinks also have electrolytes, but they also contain a high amount of sugar. Therefore, these should be avoided by young children or individuals suffering from diarrhea.
For severe dehydration, the person may require an IV to replace fluids at a hospital or in an emergency room.
Tips for Staying Cool
Drinking water and staying indoors in the air conditioning are easy ways to beat the heat. However, everyone wants to enjoy the summer while it lasts. You don’t need to suffer episodes of dehydration and heat exhaustion to enjoy the great outdoors.
While keeping yourself hydrated is a must, here are several additional ways to stay cool when temperatures skyrocket:
- Make Your Own Popsicles: One of the easiest ways to stay cool is to eat something cold. By making your own popsicles, you can even get the kids involved. Experiment with different healthy fruit juices and fruit pieces to create a tasty snack that will get everyone to sit down and take a break to cool off.
- Stick with Cold Foods and Drinks: Keep your meals light and full of chilled fruits and vegetables. Eat small amounts during the day rather than one big meal. Digestion generates body heat and eating less more frequently will keep you cooler.
- Leave the Kitchen Appliances Off: The oven generates quite a bit of heat. Avoid cooking foods that require the oven during the hottest parts of the day to give your air conditioner a break. Use a slow cooker for your big meals.
- Use a Cold Cloth: If you find yourself outside working in your yard or garden, placing a cold cloth on the back of your neck will cool you down. You can also soak a cloth headband in ice water and wrap it around your head.
- Use Ice with Your Fans: If you use floor fans, placing ice behind the fan will cool the air that is being blown into the room.
By staying cool, you and your family will be sure to have an enjoyable and memorable summer this year.