Heat exhaustion is a preventable medical condition that can lead to heatstroke. While heat exhaustion doesn’t always require medical attention, heat stroke does. It’s important to understand the symptoms of heat exhaustion and know how to reverse the effects before complications occur. AFC Urgent Care Stoneham wants you to stay safe and healthy this summer. We are able to provide all patients the resources they need to have a good summer! Visit our center today for treatment of any heat-related illness that is not life-threatening.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion symptoms can develop suddenly or overtime, depending on the circumstance. Patients may experience:
- Heavy sweating
- Cool skin that is moist and develops goosebumps while in the heat
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Low blood pressure
- A weak, rapid pulse
If someone is experiencing these symptoms and they do not get better within an hour, seek medical attention. Additionally, if a person’s mental state changes, such as becoming confused or agitated, you should also seek medical attention from an emergency room.
Potential Complications & Risk Factors
Those who are younger than four and older than 65 are at a higher risk of developing heat exhaustion. Additionally, obesity, certain drugs, sudden temperature changes, and a high heat index outside are all risk factors for heat exhaustion.
The largest complication of heat exhaustion is heatstroke. This is when your body’s core temperature is above 104 degrees. This is a critical condition and may result in organ failure and death if not treated right away.
Treating Heat Exhaustion
In many cases, heat exhaustion can be treated at home without medical care. If symptoms are progressing, however, it is always safest to visit the emergency room. To help reverse the effects of heat exhaustion, get into a cool room as quickly as possible. Resting in an air-conditioned room can allow cool your body temperature. Drink cool, hydrating beverages such as sports drinks or water. Do not drink ice-cold water because it can shock your body. Soak your body in a cool shower or bath or a nearby pond or stream if you are outside. Also, remove any constricting clothing to help your body cool down.
Preventing heat exhaustion can be simple if done correctly. During the summers and in places with hot, humid temperatures, be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing that helps to wick moisture from the skin. Be sure to use sunscreen throughout the day and take breaks from direct sun exposure. Drink plenty of water and beverages that are high in electrolytes. Avoid exercising or outdoor work when the sun is at its hottest, between 10 AM and 3 PM. Try to plan for first thing in the morning or toward the evening.