Hot Weather / Heat Related Illnesses

This information is taken from the Neace Lukens health and wellness newsletter, June 2011 edition. Source: Mayo Clinic/Health

Hot Weather – Heat Related Illnesses

Exercising in hot temperatures puts extra stress on your body, especially on your heart and lungs.  Under normal conditions, your body will adjust to the heat.  But when you are exposed to high temps and humidity too long your body’s automatic cooling systems may fail.  This could result in heat-related illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or a heatstroke.

Do you know the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion?

Heat Exhaustion  occurs when the body is not able to maintain normal functions because of the excessive loss of body fluids and salts.  In effect, the body is trying to protect itself from a greater rise in body temperature.  Symptoms can include: heavy sweating, intense thirst, dizziness, loss of coordination, nausea and/or vomiting, cool-moist skin, weak and rapid pulse.

Treatment:  Remove victim to a shaded place or cool area.

Have victim lie down with their feet elevated
Apply wet cloths and fan vigorously
Have the person drink water or watered-down electrolyte drinks every 15 minutes
Make sure the victim receives medical attention
Recommend victim avoid strenuous activity for at least a day

Heat Stroke is a life-threatening emergency.   It is the result of the body’s inability to regulate its core temperature.  As the body’s water and salt supplies dwindle, its temperature rises to extreme levels.  Symptoms can include:  body temperature of 105 or higher, red-dry and very hot skin, dilated pupils, strong and rapid pulse, extreme disorientation, unconsciousness and possible convulsions.

Treatment:   A victim of heat stroke needs immediate medical attention.

Summon an ambulance immediately
Until medical attention arrives, move the person to a shaded place or cooler area
Loosen tight clothing
Cool the individual by sponging the body with cool water or wrapping in wet sheets
Do not give the victim anything to drink – not even water