Is heat exhaustion really that big of a deal?

DR. D art Heat exaustionBIn dog days of summer the heat can sneak up on you, especially with all of fun outdoor activities through the season. Finding ways to assess and monitor your physical symptoms can make the difference between a fun time or a dangerous one.

Did you know?

In metropolitan areas many people are prone to develop heat exhaustion during a prolonged heat wave, especially in stagnant atmospheric and poor air quality conditions. The “heat island effect,” asphalt and concrete store heat during the day and only gradually release it at night, resulting in higher nighttime temperatures. It can increase summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality.

Other risk factors associated with heat-related illness include:

We recommend checking with your doctor to check if your health conditions and medications could affect your ability to cope with extreme heat and humidity.

The most common symptoms:

Recommended ways to deal with heat exhaustion:

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately get out of the heat and rest. Use a air-conditioned room, fan or a cool shady place is a great place to rest.

  • Drink plenty of liquids (avoid caffeine and alcohol).
  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing to cool down faster.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, sponge bath or apply ice towels.

If you do not experience relief within 15 minutes, seek emergency medical help, due to the fact that untreated heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

After you’ve recovered from heat exhaustion, you may be more sensitive to high temperatures during the following week. Try to avoid hot weather and strenuous exercise until you get checked by your doctor.

Prevention tips:

When the heat index is high, it’s best to stay inside in air conditioning or in front of a fan.

  • Wear lightweight breathable fabrics, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid the sun with a wide-brimmed hat, an umbrella and use SPF of 30 or more.
  • Avoid hot areas like a parked car
  • A exercise tip for moderate- to high-intensity exercise is to drink 17 to 20 ounces of liquid two to three hours before exercise with an eight ounces of liquid right before exercise. During exercise, you should consume another seven to ten ounces of water every 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Also, drink another 8 ounces within a half hour after exercise.
  • Avoid fluids containing either caffeine or alcohol, because both substances can make you lose more fluids and worsen heat exhaustion. Check with your doctor, if you have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on a fluid-restricted diet, or have a problem with fluid retention before adding extra liquids to your diet.

We recommend checking with Dr. Schumacher to check if your health conditions and medications could affect your ability to cope with extreme heat, rigorous exercise and humidity. Please feel free to call our office at 614.299.9909 to make an appointment today.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-exhaustion/basics/prevention/con-20033366
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/heat-exhaustion?page=3