Summer is officially here and it is predicted to be a hot one with a lot of humidity. With that being said, these weather conditions make everyone more susceptible to suffering from heat related accidents such as heat stroke, heat rash, or heat exhaustion. According to Mayoclinic.com, most people who suffer from heat related problems do not realize it until it’s too late. The most common is heat exhaustion, so it is important to know all of the causes and symptoms of it.
It is important to stay active in the summer so there are multiple precautions to take to avoid heat exhaustion. Some precautions include:
1. Wearing lose fitting, light colored clothes. Tight fitting clothes do not allow your body to cool properly which can result in your core body temperature to overheat.
2. Avoid sunburn. Make sure to apply sunscreen before sun exposure and apply every thirty minutes while in the sun.
3. Make sure to take a break from the heat. Seek a cooler area to rest for a while to allow your body temperature to cool down.
4. Drink plenty of fluids before during and after sun exposure. If you begin to get thirsty you are already dehydrated and should take a break from the sun and drink plenty of fluids.
Symptoms might happen very suddenly or progressively worsen the longer someone is exposed to the sun. Some symptoms include but are not limited to:
Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
Weak, rapid pulse
Low blood pressure upon standing
Fever (if over 104 degrees seek medical attention immediately)
If any of these symptoms arise you should:
1. Rest in a cool place. Air conditioning would be ideal but if that is not an option then seek a shady area where you can rest on your back with your legs elevated above your heart.
2. Drink cool fluids. Drink water or sports drinks; avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages which can lead to dehydration.
3. Apply cool water to your skin. If possible, take a cool shower or soak in a cool bath.
4. Loosen clothing. Remove any unnecessary clothing and make sure your clothes are lightweight and nonbinding.
If you don’t begin to feel better within one hour of using these treatment measures, seek prompt medical attention immediately. Prolonged exposure to this illness can lead to serve heat stroke which can kill or cause damage to other internal organs.
For more information on heat exhaustion please visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heat-exhaustion/DS01046
Written by Jessica Koonce