Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

What is heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion happens when your body gets too hot. It can be caused by exercise or hot weather. You may feel weak, dizzy or worried. You also may have a headache or a fast heartbeat. You may get dehydrated and have very little urine.

What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke can happen when your body gets too hot, or it can happen after heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. Heatstroke can kill you. People with heatstroke may seem confused. They may have seizures or go into a coma. Most people with heatstroke also have a fever.

Heat-related illnesses can be a common occurrence when exerting energy in the outdoors or poorly ventilated indoors.
Two primary contributors can be alcohol consumption and not enough water.
Three types of illness include heat cramps, which are very painful and might be combined with headache or nausea, heat exhaustion, which is more serious and includes vomiting, chills, headache, dizziness, among other symptoms, and heatstroke, which if the most dangerous and if not caught and treated immediately, can be fatal or lead to permanent brain damage or coma.

For all three of these, particularly the last two, the best action is prevention.
If you notice that your heart starts beating too fast and you feel light-headed, get out of the sun.

Wear loose fitting clothing, preferably made from lightweight cotton as well as light colors.

Drink LOTS of water. Even if you do not feel thirsty, drink anyway. Do not go with the old rule of taking salt tablets. You should always stay clear of these unless you have first consulted with your physician.

Stay away from alcohol, soft drinks, caffeine, or heavily sugared drinks to include fruit juice. Take frequent breaks and if necessary, stop for the day. If you do believe you are in trouble, seek medical attention immediately.
It is far better safe than sorry!

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