Whew! It’s cooking up to be another roasting summer. Though the temperatures may be rising, there’s no need to hide in the shade. By recognizing the early of signs of heat exhaustion, you can arm yourself with preventative measures that are sure to keep you and loved ones free from being hot stuff—and not the good kind.
Here is what happens when your body is falling into heat exhaustion. When temperatures are hot, your body regulates its temperature through sweating. If temperatures are high, and there is high humidity, the body has trouble keeping cool, and your body temperature will rise. That’s when trouble starts. Everyone is at risk of experiencing heat exhaustion, but the occurrence rates are highest among athletes who play high school football and older adults.
“We enjoy providing fun activities at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing,” said Seth Moulton, environmental services director. “But we also understand the importance of keeping staff and residents safe during the hot summer months. We make sure everyone stays hydrated, and we avoid planning outdoor events during the hottest times of the day.”
Here are some early indicators of heat exhaustion and how to handle them.
Sweat the small stuff.
Though uncomfortable at times, the fact that you are sweating is a good sign. It means your body is continuing to cool itself down with perspiration, which then evaporates. When your body is no longer sweating, that means trouble is near. Seek shelter, remove extra clothing, and load up on water.
Watch your heart rate.
While the anticipation for summer makes us do the happy dance, it shouldn’t make our heart race. If you begin to feel dizzy or feel your pulse pounding at an accelerated rate, it’s time to get out of the sun and cool off.
Whatever your culinary tolerance, nausea, cramping, and weakness are also common signs of heat exhaustion. The Mayo Clinic urges those experiencing these symptoms to lay down and elevate legs, remove extra clothing, drink lots of water, and fan to circulate cooler air.
If you aren’t experiencing improvements within thirty minutes, it’s time to seek medical attention. You run the risk of developing heat stroke. At this stage, your body temperature reaches 104 degrees, body organs are shutting down, and a real medical emergency is in place.
Don’t let the heat suck the fun out of your time in the sun. By watching for signs, such as sweating, heart rate, nausea, cramping, dizziness, and weakness, you can beat the heat while you have it made in the shade this summer.
This article was previously published in The Orange County Register. It has been posted here with permission.