Heat exhaustion is when a person feels fatigue due to a drop in blood pressure which is caused by a loss of body fluids and salts after being exposed to heat for a long period of time.
Signs of someone with heat exhaustion may be feeling sick and nauseated, faint and sweating heavily. A person who is experiencing heat exhaustion should be taken to a cool place and given water to drink, after a few hours they should start to feel better. If a person with the above symptoms ignores them, heat exhaustion may develop into heat stroke.
Heat stroke is a more serious condition and happens when the body’s temperature becomes too high due to excessive heat exposure. The body is no longer able to cool itself and begins to overheat. The signs are; cramping (especially in the legs) this is due to the body losing salt and electrolytes, fatigue, red, hot and dry skin, thirst, fast pulse, throbbing headache, confusion, dizziness and nausea.
Avoiding heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
- Stay ultra-hydrated; water is good for keeping you hydrated but drinks with added electrolytes like PowerAde are useful because they help replace salt and retain fluid.
- Know the signs!
- If possible avoid the mid-day sun (between 11am and 2pm)
- Wear sunblock and keep topped up throughout the day and always reapply when in and out of the water
- Remove yourself from the heat if you start to feel too hot; moving into the shade or having a cool shower/bath or damping your skin with cool water using a flannel/towel will help you cool down if you over heat.
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing heat stroke do not delay in seeking medical help.