5 Things You Need to Know About Heat Exhaustion
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
When you suffer from heat exhaustion, you'll begin sweating a great deal. This is your body's way of trying to cool your temperature, just like when you break a fever. Profuse sweating results in a loss of the salt, which, combined with the water loss, results in dehydration. You'll likely develop a headache from the dehydration and you may also have cramps, an upset stomach and a loss of energy. You could even be very weak and start to vomit. In extreme cases, you may even faint.
Heating and Cooling Repair
Treat your heat exhaustion immediately. Move to the shade, preferably indoors if possible. Drink plenty of water and apply a cool, wet cloth to your head and face. Avoid alcohol and liquids with caffeine, as these will dehydrate you rather than replenish your fluids. If you're not too weak, take a cool bath or shower; but if you're not steady on your feet, don't attempt this on your own. If your skin is dry and hot to the touch, or if the vomiting doesn't stop once you're indoors and have had some water, you need to seek medical attention.
From Hot to Hospitalized
If you seek medical treatment for heat exhaustion, you'll probably be given an IV to replenish your fluids. The beauty of an IV is that is bypasses your stomach, which ends the nausea. IV solutions are also made of more than just the water you drink. Most are a saline solution, so your body receives the salt it lost when you were sweating so much earlier. Depending upon how severe your case is, you may be kept overnight in the hospital so your temperature, heart rate and blood pressure can be monitored.
You can take several steps to avoid heat exhaustion. Wear lightweight clothing that's light in color. Darker colors attract heat and traps it close, so your body has to work harder to stay cool. Drink lots of water. You don't have to guzzle gallons at a time, but take several breaks from whatever you're doing to sip some water. As a rule of thumb, you need to take a drink of water every time you lick your lips. Avoid working in the hottest part of the day. Instead, save that work for early morning or late evening when the sun is not beating down directly above your head.
Longterm Effects of Heat Exhaustion
If you've suffered from heat exhaustion, there could be longterm ramifications. People who succumbed once are more likely to fall prey to heat exhaustion again. Many people complain of being sensitive to lights and smells for several days after an episode, and it can that long to regain your strength. Some people report being more sensitive to the sun and humidity for several weeks following their recovery.
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