Summer has officially started and with that brings summer heat and the danger of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Do you know the difference between the two? Would you be able to spot the sign and symptoms of either or both of the conditions? If not, we’ve got you covered! Knowing the signs, symptoms and what to do could help you save a life.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both caused by the same kind of scenario, but present very different symptoms. When you are outside playing or exercising in a hot and humid environment and your body becomes dehydrated you can fall victim to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is important to know the difference between the two so you know what to do and when medical attention is necessary.
Heat exhaustion can present the following symptoms:
-a fever (no higher than 104 degrees)
-a slow heartbeat
-cool and clammy skin
Treating heat exhaustion is crucial, because if untreated it can lead to the more serious condition known as heat stroke. So if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from heat exhaustion be sure to get to a cool air conditioned environment, drink plenty of water, rest, remove tight or unnecessary clothing and if possible take a cool bath or shower. If symptoms don’t improve within 15 minutes, seek emergency medical attention.
If heat exhaustion is left untreated it can result in the very serious life threatening condition, known as heat stroke. It happens when the body’s temperature rises and the cooling system stops working. A sign of heat stroke is when your body is no longer producing sweat. (Remember sweat is your body’s way of cooling down your body’s temperature). Heat stroke has the following signs and symptoms:
-a rapid heart rate
-hot and dry skin
-shortness of breath
Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Do not wait to see if your symptoms improve with rest and water. If you suspect someone has a heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke can cause death or cause serious injury to the brain and other organs.
So how can you try and prevent becoming a victim of heat exhaustion? When the heat is high it’s always best to stay indoors in air conditioning. If you are outside, be sure to wear sunscreen, drink extra fluids, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and wear lightweight and light colored clothing and a wide brimmed hat. Stay safe and stay cool in the summer sun!