HEAT RELATED ILLNESS

During extremely hot and humid weather, your body’s ability to cool itself becomes extremely hard. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you experience a heat-related illness.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.

 

What are heat-related illnesses?

Exposure to abnormal or prolonged amounts of heat and humidity without relief or adequate fluid intake can cause various types of heat-related illness. Children and teens adjust more slowly than adults do to changes in environmental heat. They also produce more heat with activity than adults, and and sweat less. Sweating is on of the body’s normal cooling mechanisms.

 

There are 3 types of heat-related illnesses:

- Heat cramps: these are the mildest form of heat illness and consist of painful muscle cramps and spasms that occur during and after intense exercise and sweating in high heat.

- Heat exhaustion: this is more severe than heat cramps and results from a loss of water and salt in the body. It occurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly and, if left untreated, can progress to heat stroke.

-Heat stroke: this is the most severe form of heat illness, occurs when the body’s heat-regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat. It is a life-threatning emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Milder form of heat and sun exposure are:

-Sunburn: it usually due to long exposure of the skin to direct sunlight. Sunburn are painful, red with a warm skin. In severe cases of sunburn, you can later develop blisters on the skin.

-Heat rash: the rash appear when exposed to high temperature and extreme heat. They are red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin, usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases.

Symptoms and treatment

 

Heat cramps:. heavy sweating during intense exercise

                     . muscle pain or spasms

              What to do:. stop physical activity and move to a cool place

                                     . drink water or a sport drink

                              . wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity

              Get medical help if:. cramps last longer than 1 hour

                                          .you’re on a low-sodium diet

                                          . you have heart problems

 Heat exhaustion:. heavy sweating

                           . cold, pale, and clammy skin

                           . fast, weak pulse

                           . nausea or vomiting

                           . muscle cramps

                           . feeling tired or weak

                           . feeling dizzy

                           . headache

                           . fainting( passing out)

           What to do:. move to a cool place

                                    . loosen your clothes

                                    . put cool, wet cloths on your body or a take a cool bath

                                    . sip water

              Get medical help if:. you experience vomiting

                                          . your symptoms get worse

                                          . your symptoms last longer than 1 hour

 Heat stroke: . high body temperature

                         . hot, red, dry or damp skin

                    . fast, strong pulse

                    . headache

                    . feeling dizzy

                    . nausea

                    . feeling confused

                    . losing consciousness(fainting)

          What to do:. call emergency services

                          . move the person to a cooler place

                          . help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath

                          . do not give the person anything to drink

 Sunburn: in case of sunburn you should stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals. Put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath. Put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas. Do not break the blisters.

Heat rash: when experiencing a heat rash you should stay in a cool, dry place and keep the rash dry. Use powder to soothe the rash.

 

 

The above article serves only as reference. Kindly refer to your primary care provider for complete consultation and treatment.

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