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Doctors Say These Heat Exhaustion Symptoms Should Never Be Overlooked

Although heat-related deaths are easily preventable, about 618 deaths are caused due to extreme heat every year in the US. This data is provided by the national public health institute of the US, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. For the most part, heat-related diseases are caused when the body isn’t able to cool off properly. Normally, sweat cools off the body adequately. But, that is not enough for cases of extreme heat.

The two most common illnesses extreme heat causes are heat exhaustion and heat strokes. Heatstroke is, by far, the most serious illness that is caused by extreme heat. While in the middle of a heat stroke, your body will be unable to regulate its temperature. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, during a heat stroke, the body temperature can rise to as high as 106 degrees in under 10 minutes. Consequently, if it is not treated immediately, this illness can cause permanent disability or even death.

Unsplash | Increased exposure to heat can make you prone to heat-related illnesses

On the other hand, heat exhaustion is a less severe heat-related illness. It can develop after you are exposed to hot temperatures for multiple days, with little fluid intake.

What are the key symptoms?

Heat exhaustion is most common among adults and people with high blood pressure. According to Samantha Smith, MD, people who exercise regularly outside are also prone to heat exhaustion. Heat production is increased up to 20 fold while exercising, she says. Hence, it is easier to get heat exhaustion.

 

Unsplash | It is better not to exercise in environments of extreme heat

Fortunately, doctors have disclosed key symptoms that will make it easier for you to figure if you, or someone you know, feels unwell in heat. The symptoms include

-Nausea
-Dizziness
-Headache
-Fainting
-Heavy sweating
-Weakness
-Muscle cramps
-Paleness

If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can develop into a heat stroke. If you start experiencing heat exhaustion, Dr. Betchel suggests doing the following things to cool down your body.

1. Take a cool shower or place towels soaked in cool water on your skin
2. Rest in a cool place, preferably an air-conditioned room
3. Lie down on your back and raise your legs so that they are higher than your heart
4. Loosen your clothing so that the air can touch your skin
5. Hydrate yourself with water or sports drinks
6. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate you

 

Unsplash | In conditions of extreme heat, you should hydrate yourself regularly

If taking the above steps do not relieve your symptoms in an hour or two, it is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately. You can also prevent heat-related illnesses by wearing loose and lightweight clothes while out in the heat.

Moreover, if you exercise in hot environments, let your body adapt to the temperature for a while before starting. Exercising in cooler morning or evening hours is also recommended.

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