Exposure to too much heat and humidity can cause serious health complications especially during days of scorching heat in the summer season. An individual has to stay cool and well hydrated during this period in order to prevent conditions which include heat cramps, heat exhaustion as well as heat stroke which have been considered as the most severe of the heat-related illnesses.
Heat exhaustion causes excessive loss of fluids and salts in the body and there is also an increase in the temperature and humidity of the body. Heat exhaustion can also happen any time when the body is overheated by engaging in strenuous physical activities. Athletes are more susceptible to heat exhaustion due to constant activity; individuals engaged in construction work, farmers and other occupations that require an outdoor work are susceptible to this condition. Heat exhaustion is only temporary and not a serious problem, unless there is an underlying condition such as heart conditions.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion
- The skin becomes cool that is due to sweating
- Profuse and heavy sweating can cause the person to become dehydrated
- Rapid heartbeat
- Headache, fever and muscle cramps
- Excessive thirst
- Due to loss of salt in the body, the individual can become disoriented and confused.
- Nausea, fatigue and faintness
- Dark colored urine
- The person experiences low blood pressure when standing up
- The skin becomes pale
Treatment and home remedies for heat exhaustion
- Immediately transfer the affected person out of the heat to a cool place. If possible, an air-conditioned room is the best choice.
- Allow the affected person lie in a supine position, raising the leg slightly above the ground. This helps in promoting proper flow of blood to the heart and the brain.
- Loosen or remove tight or constricted clothing.
- Allow the affected person to drink cool water that is mixed with salt and sugar.
- Apply cool water on the head, hands and legs or alternate with a lukewarm bath or shower.
- Sponge the body of the individual with cool water or take a shower.
- Observe the individual for at least 30 minutes. In case the symptoms still persist, seek medical help if the condition of the individual continues to deteriorate and progresses to heat stroke which is a serious condition.
Preventing heat exhaustion
- Wear lose fitting clothes for free movement of air which helps in evaporating heat and sweat. Avoid wearing dark colored clothes.
- Avoid being dehydrated, drink plenty of water or sports drinks during hot and humid climate and when engaging in rigorous workouts.
- Avoid doing outdoor activities and playing sports under hot weather. Perform any workout and physical activities early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Use an umbrella in order to protect the body from the sun and always apply sunscreen in order to prevent sunburn.