How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

heat exhaustionIn the summer months people tend to spend a lot more time outdoors. The sunshine and the fresh air can make you feel great but, if you're not careful, you could also end up suffering from heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. These are serious conditions that can result in hospitalization and even more serious issues if you do not recognize the symptoms and work to treat yourself. While barbecuing, hitting the beach and spending time outside are great activities that you should certainly partake in if you're interested, it's also very important that you are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and that you do whatever possible to avoid any problems. People who work outdoors are also at risk of heat exhaustion.
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What is heat exhaustion? Heat exhaustion is a condition caused by overexposure to the heat. A person suffering from heat exhaustion cannot properly cool his or her body through sweating. Dehydration often occurs with heat exhaustion when a person does not replace the fluids lost through perspiration. Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to very high temperatures, high humidity and strenuous activity in the heat. Without treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.
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What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion? Heat exhaustion symptoms vary depending on the person and the seriousness of the problem. However, symptoms include profuse sweating, overall weakness, lightheadedness, muscle cramping and soreness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, diziness and other problems. A person suffering from heat exhaustion may feel cool or cold even in the heat. Chills are common during heat exhaustion as the body is having difficulty regulating temperature.
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How do you avoid heat exhaustion? Heat exhaustion can be avoided by regulating how much time you spend in the heat and the sun. On especially hot days, you need to be careful to avoid long stretches in intense heat. You should also try to avoid doing any strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day. Drinking water frequently is incredibly important as staying hydrated is the key to avoiding heat exhaustion. If you have to be outside for a long period of time or if you are working outside, make sure that you bring enough water along with you. Drink water even if you do not feel thirsty as it is incredibly important. Sports drinks can be helpful if you are working, training or playing sports in the heat. Also, wear light, loose-fitting clothing when possible and wear a hat. It's important to limit alcohol consumption during very hot days as alcoholic beverages can lead to dehydration.
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What should you do if you suffer from heat exhaustion? In most cases, heat exhaustion can be treated at home without medical intervention. However, it must be treated rather quickly. Heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke if not treated. A person suffering from heat exhaustion should be moved out of the sun and the heat and into a cooler area as soon as possible. The person should lie down if he or she feels dizzy or weak. Most importantly, the person should drink a lot of water. Sports drinks can help as well. If the person is unable to drink water, you may need to contact medical professionals. This may also be necessary if the person does feel better after a little while. You should monitor the person's temperature as well. If their temperature is greater than 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) this is heat stroke and medical help is necessary as soon as possible.
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Many cities are experiencing incredibly hot summers right now. In these conditions it is important to avoid illness. If you do not have air conditioning, consider spending time in locations that do (shopping malls, community centers, etc) and make sure that you drink plenty of water even if you are not feeling thirsty. Take frequently breaks as well to avoid exhaustion.

Article courtesy of Peace of Mind Newsletter
Justin Lepore

Justin Lepore

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