Pasadena and much of Southern California experienced a Heat Advisory this weekend and summer is far from over! In my first post, I want to focus on awareness for Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke and determining their symptoms.
First of all, it is very important to know the difference between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke. Both can lead to serious illness, or even death, and the information below will help you recognize the symptoms.
When the body is exposed to extreme heat temperatures (often combined with physical exertion), the body may become severely overheated and dehydrated. Because of the loss of body fluids, body temperature will rise. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
- Muscle cramps
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
Cooling the body is the main way to treat heat exhaustion. Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic), that are low in sodium and caffeine. Remove any heavy or unnecessary clothing. Cool the skin with cool water from the shower or sponge baths. Avoid using quick/extreme cooling methods like ice, air conditioners or fans. If body temperature hasn’t reduced in 20-30 min please seek medical help or call 911 immediately!
Heat Stroke, or Sun Stroke, is bit more serious than Heat Exhaustion. The body becomes overheated to extreme temperatures, and the body no longer has the ability to cool itself. The section of the brain that controls body temperature has become damaged. Body temperatures have usually risen to 105° F or more and there is damage to internal organs. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Hot, flushed, dry skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Decreased sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased urination
- Blood in urine or stool
- Increased body temperature (104° F to 106° F)
- Confusion, delirium, or loss of consciousness
Heat Stroke may happen suddenly, without any warning, and Heat Exhaustion may not happen first. If anyone shows symptoms of Heat Stroke call 911 IMMEDIATELY!!!!
It is important to take preventative measures when there are higher heat indexes, even if you are not directly exposed to the sun. Being indoors with fans or air conditioning does not protect from dehydration! Please take all precautions to keep yourself hydrated with water. Low sodium sports drinks are okay as well. Avoid overexertion and maintain regular, healthy meals. More great information is available from the CDC.