Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be extremely dangerous . Knowing what heat stroke symptoms to look for can actually save a life!
So make sure you know how to recognize heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke and then…
Make sure you know what to do!
Muscular pains and cramps normally occur when the body loses electrolytes during periods of excessive sweating or when there are a lack of electrolytes taken into the body.
Heat cramps are common amongst people doing strenuous physical activity. The low salt levels in the muscles, caused by excessive sweating, causes the muscles to go into spasm. These cramps would usually begin in the legs and arms, spreading to the abdominal area.
People suffering with heart conditions should see a doctor, as well as those on low sodium diets.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Cramps
- Spasms of the voluntary muscles and abdomen after strenuous activity in a hot environment
- Temperature 37.3-37.8 degrees C (99-100 F)
- Profuse sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Feeling weak
How To Treat Heat Cramps
- Treat heat cramps with a bit of shade and get close to a fan if possible.
- Spraying water over the person often helps the cool down process.
- Drink a liter of water, to which a half a teaspoon of salt has been added.
- Massage the affected area with the following:
2 drops geranium, 3 drops eucalyptus diluted in a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Apply neat lavender or eucalyptus to the temples, back of the neck and solar plexus, and breathe deeply.
Heat cramps often precede heat exhaustion…
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Weak or rapid pulse and shallow or rapid breathing
- Temperature 38.4-38.9degrees C (101-102 F)
- Cool, moist, pale skin
- Excessive thirst and profuse sweating
- Headache and dizziness
- Nausea, vomiting and general weakness
- Disorientation and confusion
- Decreased appetite
How To Treat Heat Exhaustion
- Get the person into a cool space and apply cold compresses (wrap ice cubes in a towel.
- Make sure the feet are raised and take in plenty of liquid.
- Get to a doctor if the symptoms persist.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Temperature 39.5-41.1degrees C (103-106 F)
- Hot flushed dry or sweaty skin
- Symptoms of shock
- Dilated, sluggish pupils
- Disorientation and confusion
- Unaware of present situation
- Deep breathing, rapidly going to shallow breathing… then no breathing
Here the brain looses the ability to regulate the body’s temperature. The person will become hot, red and warm to touch. Although the temperature will be high there will be no perspiration. This is a good time to get medical help and cool the body down as soon as possible. Wrapping the person in cool, wet sheets is quite an effective way of doing it.
BEWARE! Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a gradual process…
- First there is a feeling of confusion, followed by a headache and drowsiness and the temperature will start to rise. This is extremely dangerous and the temperature must be brought down immediately and treatment must be maintained for about 48 hours.
- Try and get the person submerged in a bath of cold water with 4 drops each of eucalyptus and lavender essential oil. If no bath is available pour water over the body and apply neat eucalyptus to the temples and the back of the neck.
- Rubbing ice packs on the groin, wrists and neck is a great help.
- Keep the person indoors and sponge the body down repeatedly with ice-cold water and eucalyptus for at least 48 hours. A quick dowsing with water only drops the body temperature by 1/100 of a degree so frequent and prolonged sponging is needed.
- Drink plenty of liquids, starting with 3 liters of water, mix half a teaspoon of salt per liter of water.
Stay out of the sun for a few days!
Tips To Prevent Heat Stroke
- Drink plenty of fluids during vigorous or outdoor activities (and that includes sunbathing), especially on hot days.
- Drink water and sports drinks; avoid alcohol and fluids with caffeine such as tea, coffee, and cola, as these can lead to dehydration.
- Dress in light coloured, lightweight, tightly-woven, loose-fitting clothing on hot days.
- Schedule vigorous activity and sports for cooler times of the day. Take rest periods in shady or cool areas.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses or by using an umbrella. Use a sunscreen that is at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15.
- Increase time spent outdoors gradually to get your body used to the heat.
- Take frequent drink breaks and “wet down” or mist yourself with a spray bottle to avoid becoming overheated.
- Try to spend as much time indoors as possible on very hot and humid days.
- Always warm-up and cool-down before and after exercising.
Heat stroke is one of those things that you would really rather prevent than have to treat!
Pets also suffer from heat exhaustion – Make Sure your pet ALWAYS has shade and cool water to drink.