What Are The Symptoms Of Heat Stroke And Heat Exhaustion?

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As spring cool weather gives way to summer, the outdoors calls for long days of camping, yard work, swimming and other outdoor activities. While the sun can provide a great burst of Vitamin D, entering the heat unprepared can quickly result in potentially serious health consequences. If you’re planning on spending extended amounts of time outside during high-temperature days, it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in order to avoid a medical emergency.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

Heat exhaustion is the first step towards a more serious heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include headaches, cold skin, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, increased heart rate, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and confusion. Signs of heat exhaustion are also commonly paired with signs of dehydration, such as dark urine or an uncharacteristic reduction in urination.

Heat Stroke Symptoms

Heat stroke can have many of the same symptoms of heat exhaustion with increasing severity. Heat stroke symptoms can include trouble breathing, flushed skin, an increase in body temperature to at or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and a stop or significant reduction in sweating regardless of body temperature. Severe heat stroke may also manifest with fainting and seizures.

Treatment

At the first signs of heat exhaustion, move the person out of the sun and into the shade or inside. Use a fan to help assist the body in heat reduction through sweating and evaporation. Apply ice to areas of the body with heavier concentrations of blood vessels near the skin such as the back, neck, armpits, and groin to help lower body temperature. A cool shower or bath can also help. Do not put a person in an ice bath unless they are generally healthy, or if recommended by a medical professional. Any signs of heat stroke should involve a medical professional immediately to prevent potentially serious health consequences.

Prevention

Don’t let the threat of heat stroke or exhaustion prevent you from getting out and enjoying the summer. If you’re going outside, wear light colored clothing to help reflect heat. Clothing should also be breathable, loose and light-weight to allow heat to evaporate from your body more easily. Stay consistently hydrated. The water you drink today will determine how hydrated you are tomorrow, but drinking regularly throughout your outdoor time will also help prevent dehydration. Sports drinks can also help balance salt levels if you’re planning on more active or exercise activities in the heat. Try to avoid direct sun exposure during the hottest points of the day, typically between 2 and 5.

If you or a loved one is experiencing sign or symptoms of heat stroke, it’s essential to get help as soon as possible. Medac Urgent Care is qualified and prepared to help treat any heat-related events, as well as many other minor medical emergencies and preventative health care procedures your family may need.