Safety from Summer Heat Exhaustion
This entry was posted on July 5, 2017.
Few people would argue that summer is the perfect time for fun in the sun. From long lazy days on the lake to picnics in the park, summer is full of opportunities to play. As the mercury rises, however, so does the threat of heat exhaustion.
Today we wanted to talk about heat exhaustion so you know how to recognize it, treat it and most importantly, how to prevent it in the first place.
What is heat exhaustion?
People sometimes use this term without realizing that it means more than just being overheated. Heat exhaustion is a medical condition that comes after exposure to high temperatures. It has various stages and can lead to a life-threatening condition.
High temperatures, especially when combined with high humidity, long periods of exposure or physical activity, can lead to heat exhaustion. If you don’t recognize and treat it early on, it can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.
Recognizing heat exhaustion
Some of the most common symptoms of heat exhaustion includes a headache, fatigue, heavy sweating, dizziness, nausea or muscle cramps. If the situation proceeds without intervention, symptoms can also include low blood pressure upon standing and a weak but rapid pulse.
It’s important to realize that not all symptoms must be present for someone to be suffering from heat exhaustion. Also, keep in mind that for children and the elderly, symptoms can rapidly progress. So if you suspect heat exhaustion, don’t wait for new symptoms to occur, simply start treatment.
Treating heat exhaustion
The first thing you should do if you suspect heat exhaustion is call for help and get the victim to shade or inside a cool building. Have them lie down and elevate their legs above the level of their heart. Remove any extra layers of clothing, especially socks and shoes, hats or anything that blocks their skin from getting cool air.
Next, try to help them cool down by misting them with water, placing cool compresses on them and wetting their hair. If you have fans available, use them to further cool off the victim You can also simply fan them with paper fans if nothing else is available.
Preventing heat exhaustion
Fortunately, you can prevent heat exhaustion by simply avoiding prolonged exposure to high temperatures. You should also avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day and take frequent breaks. And of course, it’s important that you stay hydrated. Keep in mind, however, that you should steer clear of caffeine and alcohol in favor of water and sports drinks.
Fast action can make all the difference, so keep these steps in mind and share them with your friends and family. Here are some additional resources on treating heat exhaustion.