Heat exhaustion occurs when a person cannot sweat enough to cool their body. This is usually the result of not drinking enough fluids during hot weather. It generally develops when a person is playing, working, or exercising outside in extreme heat. Symptoms include the following:
- Dizziness, weakness, nausea, headache, and vomiting
- Blurry vision
- Body temperature rising to 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sweaty skin
- Feeling hot and thirsty
- Difficulty speaking
A person suffering from heat exhaustion must move to a cool place and drink plenty of water to avoid a more severe heat-related condition – heat stroke.
Heat stroke is the result of untreated heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:
- Sweating stops
- Unawareness of thirst and heat
- Body temperature rising rapidly to above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Confusion or delirium
Possible loss of consciousness or seizure
Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that must be treated quickly by a trained professional. Until help arrives, cool the person down by placing ice on the neck, armpits, and groin. If the person is awake and able to swallow, have them drink a small glass of water every 15 minutes or until help arrives.
Tips for Staying Cool
Heat and humidity can be a grueling combination in the summer months! However, it doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to safely enjoy your time outdoors. Keep the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke at bay by following these safety tips:
- Drink plenty of water! In hot weather, drink enough water to quench your thirst. It is recommended that the average adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, and even more during hot weather.
- Skip the caffeine and soda (or pop), and choose water instead.
- Dress for the weather. When outside, wear lightweight clothing of natural fabric and a well-ventilated hat.
- Eat light. Replace heavy or hot meals with lighter, refreshing foods. Also, always eat smaller meals before work or intense activity.
Additionally, if you’re spending your time outdoors with older adults or children, be sure to keep close watch for the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke mentioned above, and encourage smart sun safety practices.
- Offer them plenty of healthy, cool beverages throughout the day, and make sure they understand why it’s so important that they stay hydrated.
- Ensure that they are dressed in lightweight clothing.
- Serve watermelon or frozen treats as healthy and refreshing snacks.
- Put moist towels on their neck, wrist, or back if they begin to feel too hot.
We know how hard you work, and you deserve to enjoy your time off to the fullest! Remember our tips, and revel in your time spent in the beautiful summer weather!