Although people love to glorify summer, I think we can all agree that sweltering summer days aren’t much fun. No matter what your age, it’s dangerous to spend too much time outdoors in scorching temperatures. The risks are higher, however, if you’re over the age of 50 and have other health problems. So take care of your body this summer by watching out for symptoms of heat exhaustion. If you’re able to recognize heat exhaustion and cool your body down quickly, you can prevent it from progressing to heat stroke, which requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
People react to heat differently. Some people adore basking in the hot summer sun, while others prefer cooler temps. But even people who love hot weather can suffer from heat exhaustion if they’re not careful. This summer, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale, clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Tiredness or weakness
Sometimes we aren’t able to recognize these symptoms in ourselves, so be sure to keep an eye on your friends and family as well. If you notice that your friend is looking pale and sweating heavily, lead them indoors so that they can cool off in the air conditioning with a glass of water.
How to Treat Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body struggles to cool down to a normal temperature (approximately 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in a hot environment. Typically the body uses sweat to cool down. However, if the weather is very hot and humid or you’re overexerting yourself, your body may not be able to regulate its temperature efficiently.
Do you suspect that you’re suffering from heat exhaustion? Act fast to cool your body down. According to the CDC, you can do this by moving to a cool place, loosening your clothes, placing cool wet cloths on your body, taking a cool bath, and/or sipping water or sports drinks. If your symptoms persist or worsen for one hour, contact your doctor.
Beware of Heat Stroke
Sometimes untreated heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke, which is more serious. These are the symptoms of heat stroke:
- High body temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
- Hot, red skin
- Dry or damp skin
- Fast, strong pulse
- Loss of consciousness
If you notice that someone appears to be suffering from heat stroke, call 911 right away and move the person to a cooler place. Use cool cloths or a cool bath to lower their body temperature. Although you may wish to give them water too, the CDC states that you should not give a person suffering from heat stroke anything to drink. Because the person may have an altered state of consciousness, they cannot safely be given fluids to drink.
While you’re enjoying summer fun in the sun, always keep an eye out for the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Stay cool out there!
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