Heat Exhaustion – Knowing the Symptoms Could Save Your Life
Heat exhaustion is a heat-related health condition that occurs when one is exposed to extremely hot conditions. It’s common in athletes who train outdoors during extreme summer weather.
Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone, but older adults and young children are especially susceptible.
Heat exhaustion can also occur in people who drive long distances in hot weather and those who stay for long periods in indoor areas that aren’t sufficiently air-conditioned. If you live in an area that routinely experiences triple-digit heat in the summertime it’s important that you keep your vehicle’s AC adequately charged and invest in annual AC safety inspections to ensure your home’s air conditioning system is in good working order.
Though less severe than heat stroke, heat exhaustion is still dangerous and anyone suffering from the symptoms should be attended to immediately before their condition worsens.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- A drop in blood pressure. The drop in pressure is most evident when exerting oneself such as when moving from a sitting position to a standing position.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness especially when moving from a sitting position to a standing position.
- Nausea – people with heatstroke tend to feel uneasiness in the stomach that may or may not lead to vomiting.
- Feeling of faintness – one may feel like they are going to faint. Or, they might actually faint!
- Sweating profusely – when the body heats, you will sweat. The difference is that heat exhaustion causes excessive (abnormal) sweating.
- Cool, moist, or cold skin – even with all the heat, however, the skin of a person with heat stroke will feel cool and moist.
- Rapid heart rate
- Decreased skin elasticity
Other symptoms include a weak pulse, a pale or flushed face, strong headache, and muscle cramping.
It’s also worth noting that heat exhaustion can cause dehydration. If you have heat exhaustion, you are highly likely to experience dehydration. Dehydration symptoms include;
- A sunken soft spot on top of the head
- Sunken eyes
- Decreased urine output
- Crying without tears
- Low-grade fever
Finally, keep in mind that heat exhaustion can spiral into a heat stroke which is a fatal condition. For this reason, it is important that you treat the mentioned heat exhaustion symptoms as soon as they manifest.
First aid typically involves cooling your body by moving to a shady or air-conditioned area, drinking water or a beverage with electrolytes, wearing loose clothes, and applying towels soaked in cold water to your forehead, wrists, the back of your neck, and other areas of your body. If the symptoms don’t improve even with these treatments, seek medical assistance right away.