Heat Exhaustion – When the Summer Sun Makes You Sweat
August 8, 2012
The summer sun has been beating brightly down upon many parts of the country. With the sun comes the fun but little do most American’s know that there are serious consequences that come with being under the rays. Everyone seems to know the possibility of skin cancer, sunburns or windburns but what is rarely spoken of is the risks for heat exhaustion; a serious condition in which you body reacts negatively to the heat.
Heat exhaustion can occur in multiple ways and for multiple reasons. It can occur after mere hours in the sun, after extended time in the water or by pairing heat and alcohol consumption, just to name a few. Heat exhaustion is a result of depletion within the body. Water and salt depletion can occur together or separately but each has similar results of dehydration.
The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion often show up after the fun is over. If you have any of the following symptoms after a long day in the heat, try to get into a climate controlled area or a shaded place and drink lots of water.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Dark-colored urine
- Muscle cramps
- Pale skin
- Rapid heartbeat
The possibility of getting heat exhaustion drastically increases when temperatures rise above 90 degrees fahrenheit. The quality of the air in your environment can also be a factor in overexposure to high heat index situations.
If you or someone you know thinks they have heat exhaustion, there are a few steps that can be taken for at home care.
- Drink plenty of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages. (Caffeine and alcohol both serve as dehydrators and will further deplete your body)
- Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing that will restrict movement and hold heat in
- Take a cool shower or bath to help lower your body temperature
- Apply other active cooling measures such as fans or ice packs, cool towels etc.
If the severity of the symptoms is extreme or symptoms do not decrease within 30 minutes, it is advised to visit an emergency room or doctor’s office immediately as you could have a more serious condition known as heat stroke.
Be sure to avoid the heat for a few days after the symptoms let up, you will most likely be physically sensitive and sluggish for up to a week and it is important to let your body fully recover so you can fully enjoy the remainder of the summer months.