Atmosphere And Weather

Signs of Heat Exhaustion



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Summer is the time to work in the garden, mow the lawn, go to the beach and dozens of other things that can bring on heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion.  Prepare yourself by knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion and what to do about it. It is reported that more than 300 people die each year from a heat-related disease, but this can be prevented. 

Heat exhaustion can affect anyone at any age.  If you know how to identify the symptoms, you have a better chance of treating it before it becomes serious. There are numerous warning signs of heat exhaustion.  One such sign is flu-like symptoms accompanied by a throbbing headache, cool skin, chills and a weak pulse.  Other signs may be dizziness, hallucinations, muscle cramps, fainting and nausea or vomiting.  The skin may be cool and moist and the breathing fast and shallow.

If you experience any of these symptoms after becoming over-heated get out of the sun immediately and into a cool place as soon as possible.  Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, rest, take a cool shower and get in an air-conditioned environment, if possible.

It is very important to stay out of the sun and heat until you cool down.  If symptoms worsen or last more than an hour, seek medical attention.  Heat exhaustion can usually be treated with first aid measures, however, if can turn into heatstroke which is an extremely serious condition.

Normal body temperature stays around 98.6 degrees.  If you are out in the sun, and particularly if you are exercising, your body heat can rise to 103.  All of that heat cannot be dissipated into the environment so it is stored in the body.  As a result it can start your organs malfunctioning and you can no longer sweat which is the way your body cools itself.

Sometimes people suffer from heat exhaustion after being exposed to heat over a few days time and not drinking enough fluids.  This is especially true for the elderly, persons working or exercising in a hot environment and people with high blood pressure. There are circumstances where air conditioning is not available and a heat wave will cause large numbers of deaths to people living under those conditions.

If you exercise during hot weather, wear loose fitting, cool clothing and stay hydrated.  A sports drink will help replace the electrolytes lost when sweating. Do not become fatigued as this can make heat exhaustion come on more readily. If you take medicines regularly, talk to your physician about how they affect your hot-weather activities as some medications will make you thirsty or increase your body heat.

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