Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke: What are they?
While summer is an excellent time for outdoor activities and to soak up the sun, paying close attention to the season’s temperature is essential to stay safe. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two heat-related conditions that could result in medical emergencies.
When left untreated, overheating might result in damaged organs and life-threatening scenarios. Unfortunately, heat exhaustion and heat stroke sufferers overlook or downplay the earliest symptoms in many cases. During warmer months, it’s important to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke to receive necessary treatment.
Heat Exhaustion Vs. Heat Stroke Symptoms
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body’s natural sweating mechanism struggles to cool down from hot weather exposure. When your body struggles to cool off, you become dehydrated and lose electrolytes. The symptoms of heat exhaustion usually begin with:
- Symptoms of skin irritation (i.e., rash or pale complexion)
- Progressively profuse perspiration nausea/vomiting
- Fainting spells
Ignoring the symptoms of heat exhaustion may lead to a more severe condition known as heat stroke. Heat stroke requires prompt medical attention.
The usual symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Sudden mood changes
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- High body temperatures that exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit
Heat strokes may also cause sudden headaches with little warning, and your skin feels dry and hot to the touch. Additionally, the body has an increased demand for heat regulation. This may accelerate your heartbeat and induce feelings of nausea or vomiting.
Preventive Measures for Heat-Related Conditions
When temperatures are high, it’s suggested to avoid strenuous physical exercise. If you go ahead with strenuous activities in the heat, try taking breaks every five to ten minutes to avoid overexertion from heat stress. For adults, it is best to avoid alcoholic beverages outdoors as they may cause dehydration and worsen heat-related symptoms.
Infants, young children, and adults 65 years or older face a higher risk of heat-related conditions due to their body’s lowered heat-regulating capabilities. These demographics should be careful when engaging in strenuous activities under the sun. For example, you might consider wearing loose clothing and lighter colors to prevent heat absorption if you’re doing something labor-intensive in the summer sun.
Heat-related conditions, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are preventable. Stay well-hydrated, pay close attention, and respond to the symptoms of overheating.
Treatment Options for Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
Immediately seek shade or an air-conditioned environment and remove excess layers of clothing once you detect the first signs of heat exhaustion. Doing so will help your body cool down. This will also help reduce the effects of dehydration and prevent the onset of a heat stroke.
However, if you suspect that you or someone around you are undergoing heat stroke symptoms, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. Heat strokes require a time-sensitive response for an improved chance of recovery. Our network of clinically integrated physicians can care for you at a variety of major local hospitals and facilities in the greater metro-Detroit area.
Depending upon your condition, you can be treated with measures such as cold compresses and IV drips, which cools and replenishes the body. Additionally, medical staff will examine your vitals and organ function to manage to evaluate any issues that may arise.
How Envision Medical Group Can Help
At Envision Medical Group, we provide comprehensive solutions that include telehealth services that offer easy access to quality healthcare. We can provide you and your loved ones treatment and care you may need this summer.
We envision a better, healthier you year-round. Contact us by visiting our website or calling directly at (248) 741-6909.