We normally regulate our body temperature by sweating. But some things can limit our sweat response during extreme conditions. High humidity, age, obesity, fever, dehydration, disease, and drug and alcohol use all limit our ability to sweat.
To protect your health when temperatures use these strategies:
Drink Fluids During heavy exercise in a hot weather drink 16-32 ounces of cool fluids per hour.
Replace Salt and Minerals Sweat leeches salt and minerals from the body. The easiest way to replace these are with foods or sports drinks.
Wear Appropriate Clothing / Sunscreen Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a hat and sunscreen is helpful. Sunburn decreases your ability to cool yourself and causes fluids loss. Use sunblock with SPF 15 or higher.
Acclimate You will have a greater tolerance if you become accustomed to the heat slowly If traveling to a hotter climate, allow several days to become acclimated before vigorous exercise, and work up to it gradually.
Use Common Sense Avoid hot foods and heavy meals-they add heat to your body. Limit sun exposure during the mid-day hours.
Heat Exhaustion Heat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive loss of water and salt through sweat.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
* heavy sweating * paleness * muscle cramps
* tiredness * weakness * dizziness * headache * nausea or vomiting * fainting * The skin may be cool and moist * The victim's pulse rate will be fast and weak * Breathing will be fast and shallow.
If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may lead to heat stroke. Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms are severe.
* drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages * rest * take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath * get into an air-conditioned environment * wear lightweight clothing
Heat Stroke Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and the sweating mechanism fails so the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke is serious and lead to death or permanent disability.
Signs of Heat Stroke
* an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F) * red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating) * rapid, strong pulse * throbbing headache * dizziness * nausea * confusion * unconsciousness
Treatment Call for immediate medical assistance and cool the victim immediately.
Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can: immerse in a tub of cool water; place in a cool shower; spray with cool water from a garden hose; sponge with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
Monitor the person's body temperature, and continue cooling until the temperature drops to 101-102°F. Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
Other Heat Illness
Heat Cramps Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture. Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms - usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs - that may occur in association with strenuous activity.
* Stop activity, and sit quietly in a cool place. * Drink clear juice or a sports beverage. * Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside * Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.
Sunburn Sunburn should be avoided because it is damaging to the skin. Although the discomfort is usually minor and healing often occurs in about a week, a more severe sunburn may require medical attention.
Recognizing Sunburn Symptoms of sunburn are well known: skin becomes red, painful, and abnormally warm after sun exposure.
* Avoid repeated sun exposure. * Apply cold compresses or immerse the sunburned area in cool water. * Apply moisturizing lotion to affected areas. Do not use salve, butter, or ointment. * Do not break blisters.
Heat Rash Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children. Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.
Treatment Move to a cool, less humid environment. Keep the affected area dry. Dusting powder may be used to increase comfort, but avoid using ointments or creams that keep the skin warm and moist and may make the condition worse. Return--> Extreme Heat - Dealing with Heat Related Illness and Emergencies