Which of These is a Sign of Heat Exhaustion?
- Extreme Thirst
- Swollen Feet
- Clear Urine
Summer is coming. And that means more heat and more activity. Each year too many people are seriously injured or even die from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body’s core temperature goes into a hyperthermic state (you are over 100 degrees F). This condition can easily occur when the air temperature is higher than your normal body temperature. Inadequate hydration, medical issues, and physical exertion can aggravate this situation. Watch out for symptoms like dizziness and unusual tiredness, with copious sweating and clammy feeling skin.
Treatment for heat exhaustion generally remedies the situation, but you must catch it early—before it becomes heat stroke.
To treat yourself or someone else for heat exhaustion, follow these steps:
- Have the person lie down indoors or in the shade.
- Elevate their feet.
- Give them plenty of fluids until they recover fully.
- If they are elderly or have any serious health issues, call 911.
- If the person acts out of character or does not recover in a matter of minutes, call 911.
Severe hyperthermia is known as heat stroke. It is marked by an elevated body temperature of 104 degrees or higher, hot and dry skin, headache, dizziness, and potentially unconsciousness. The easiest symptom to spot first is dry skin. If the weather is hot and someone has stopped sweating, you should take that symptom very seriously. Heat stroke can be fatal, so call 911 immediately if you or someone else is showing these symptoms.
For heat stroke, call 911, and…
- Get the patient to the coolest place possible.
- Elevate their head – not their feet as you would do for heat exhaustion.
- Wrap them in cool, wet clothing or a wet sheet.
- Pour cool water on the cloth and fan the patient to bring their temperature down.
- When their temperature drops below 104 degrees, take away the wet stuff and cover them with dry fabric or clothing.
- Repeat the treatment if their temperature begins to rise again.If the patient loses consciousness before or during treatment, watch for cardiac arrest and be prepared to resuscitate.
Prevention and awareness of possible heat illness symptoms are the best remedy to this common and occasionally deadly medical condition. Rest and hydrate often throughout your outdoor activities and pay attention to the natural warnings from the human body.