We all know how hot Texas summers can get. Preventing heat exhaustion allows everyone to enjoy the summer months without risking heat stress or heat stroke. Do you know what signs and symptoms to watch out for? Keep reading to find out!
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body gets too hot. Normally, your body will cool itself by sweating, but if you are not adequately hydrated the body systems that regulate temperature will become overwhelmed and become too hot.
Prevention is easy and essential.
“You have to stay hydrated,” says Dr. Brian Aldred, medical director of Five Star ER in Round Rock, TX. “Cover up your skin with loose-fitting clothing as much as possible, stay out of the direct heat as much as possible, obviously sun screen and hats and visors are helpful to protect your skin, and just drink lots of fluids.”
Many people think that heat exhaustion only occurs at high temperatures, but that’s not the case. In fact, heat exhaustion can occur when outside temperatures are as low as 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Pale, clammy skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dizziness, fainting
- Nausea, vomiting
- Muscle and abdominal cramps
- Mild temperature elevations
It is important to stay hydrated with water, coconut water, or another beverage (without caffeine) that replenishes necessary minerals and nutrients that are lost through sweat. Heat stroke can come on rapidly, but if you stay cool and hydrated it can be easily be prevented.
What Do I Do if I See Someone Suffering from Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion requires immediate attention because it can progress to heatstroke, a life-threatening illness.
“Heatstroke is characterized by the body being overwhelmed with its response to try to cool itself,” Aldred says. “Typically, with heat exhaustion, you’re very sweaty. With heatstroke, you actually become dried up. Your body cannot sweat anymore; it doesn’t have the fluids and mechanisms to cool itself down. This is a significant medical emergency characterized by confusion, sometimes seizure, and even just unresponsiveness.”
If you suspect heatstroke, call 911 immediately. While help is on the way, take the following steps to help cool the person down:
- Put the person in a cool tub of water or a cool shower.
- Get the person wet with a garden hose.
- Sponge with cool water.
- Fan while misting with cool water.
- Place ice packs or cool wet towels on the neck, armpits and groin.
- Cover with cool damp sheets.
- Let the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine, if he or she is able.
- Begin CPR if the person loses consciousness and shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement.
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About Five Star ER
Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.
Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes. To find the location nearest you, click here.
This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.
Today we are talking about heat and dehydration
Posted by Five Star ER on Wednesday, August 3, 2016