A Common Symptom of Heat Illness

Your body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn’t enough. Your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and you can develop a heat illness. Most heat illnesses occur from staying out in the heat too long. Exercising too much for your age and physical condition are also factors. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk. Drinking fluids, replenishing salt and minerals and limiting time in the heat can help.

Heat-related illnesses include:-

  • Heatstroke – a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness
  • Heat exhaustion – an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
  • Heat cramps – muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise
  • Heat rash – skin irritation from excessive sweating

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>Extreme Heat

>Hyperthermia: Too Hot for Your Health

> Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Extreme Heat

Treatment:-

* Heat Cramps: First Aid
* Heat Exhaustion: First Aid
* Heatstroke: First Aid

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Prevention/Screening:-

* Extreme Heat: Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

* Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke: What You Need to Know

Specific Conditions:-

* Prickly Heat (Miliaria Rubra)

* Protect Yourself: Heat Stress

If you suspect a person is having a problem with the heat, err on the side of caution and insist they get into shade and cool down. Have them drink water and spray their body with cold water or rub them down with ice or a cold cloth. If they don’t cool down quickly, seek medical advice.

Dr. Bergeron notes that after incidents of heatstroke among student athletes, it often becomes clear that other students had noticed the player “didn’t look quite right.’’ Kids should be instructed that if their friends start acting funny, confused or mumbling, they should alert an adult.

As a result, athletic researchers recommend that kids and adult exercisers alike should adopt a buddy system when playing or exercising in the heat.

“The athlete is the worst one to make the decision,’’ Dr. Bergeron said. “We strongly recommend that you have people and kids in like positions sort of assigned to each other so you have a buddy system. It’s your buddy or friend who is likely to notice the behavioral change first.’’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention answers frequently asked questions about heat illness here.

Resources:The New York Times. June 10 ’08 and http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/heatillness.html

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