Monday, April 21, 2008

Heat Exhaution and Heat Stroke

Avoid succumbing to either heat exhaustion or heat stroke by resisting the temptation to lie in the hot sun for hours on end. Keep your body cool by going for a swim at regular intervals.

Don't fall asleep in the sun. If you begin to feel woozy or headache, retreat to the shade immediately and cool yourself sown with cold compresses or a tepid bath and sip liquids. Orange juice is good because it replaces potassium lost through sweating.

Drink at least two liters of water a day and don't rely on thirst as an indicator of dehydration. You could easily be dehydrated and yet not feel thirsty. Don't drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks as these have a diuretic effect, adding to dehydration.

If despite these precautions, you develop symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take the following steps immediately.

Heat Exhaustion:
There are three types of heat exhaustion, all of which can be fatal: water deficiency, salt deficiency and anhydrotic.

The symptoms of water deficiency heat exhaustion include thirst, lack of appetite, giddiness, a dry mouth and rising temperature. Rest in cool surroundings and drink half a liter of water every fifteen minutes for two hours. Seek medical help if your symptoms continue to worsen.

Salt deficiency heat exhaustion occurs if you have been sweating heavily during the first few days of acclimatization to a very hot climate and have not eaten properly. Fatigue, giddiness and severe muscle cramp are symptoms of this type of heat exhaustion. If you thinks you may be suffering from this condition, see a doctor.

Anhydrotic heat exhaustion is a rare malfunction of the sweat glands, which occurs in people who have been in a hot climate for several months.

Heat Stroke:
The symptoms of heat stroke are that your body temparature rises but you do not sweat as this heat regulating mechanism is not functioning correctly. You develop a severe headache, feel faint or disorientated, stagger or start to convulse. The skin is hot and may feel dry. Sunstroke is an incorrect term you can get heat stroke without being in the sun.

Heat stroke can be extremely dangerous, or even fatal, so call an ambulance or ask someone to drive you to the emergency department of a nearby hospital.

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