Knowing the Difference Between Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

Scorching temperatures and blistering sun seem to have been making the weather headlines for weeks now. With no sign of relief in sight, many of us are flocking to area pools and waterways in an attempt to cool down. While there may be some sanctuary outside, an important factor might be overlooked. Your overall heath. This time of the year many can suffer heat related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. What are the warning signs? What follows is an explanation and possible treatments for typical heat related illnesses.

It should be noted that none of these tips should in any way be taken over medical advice. As always seek medical treatment as needed.

It can get a little scary and confusing when you are overwhelmed by the heat. Heat stroke is a condition to your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to a physical exertion in high temperatures. The most serious heat related injuries can occur if body temperatures reach 104 degrees or higher.

So what do you look out for? Typical symptoms of heat stroke include: high body temperature, altered mental state or behavior such as confusion, agitation or slurred speech as well as delirium. Other things to look out for are hot and dry skin, nausea or vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, headache or a racing heart. The important thing to remember is if you think someone is experiencing heat stroke to call 911 immediately.

There are a few things that you can do while waiting for help to arrive. It is important to move the person to a cool place, and loosen their clothes. Next you want to give the person sips of water and put a cool cloth on the persons head. The good thing is that this is completely preventable as long as the proper steps of self-care are taken while outside. It is important to wear sunscreen, use hats, and drink plenty of water. Another good tip is to take it easy during the hottest part of the day. If the physical activity can wait, then wait.

What about Heat Exhaustion? Heat Exhaustion is a heat related illness that may include heavy sweating, and a rapid pulse which is a result of your body overheating. Your body regulates your temperature though sweating, when there is no sweating it will try to find a new way to relieve itself.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion may include: Cool moist skin with goosebumps in heat, heavy sweating, fainting, dizziness, fatigue, weak/rapid pulse, nausea and muscle cramps. Again if you think someone might be experiencing this condition call 911 immediately. To help move the person to a cool area, and try to lower body temperature with wet cloth. If you feel that this is regulating the person’s body temperature you may try to give them sips of water, if it is not regulating do not give the person water.

Heat related illnesses are serious conditions this time of the year. Please take a few moments before you go out and make sure that you have water and sunscreen with you. Getting in the shade and taking care of yourself is key. Follow these tips and more to have a healthy and safe summer.