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How to distinguish between heat exhaustion, a stroke, and heat stress

How to distinguish between heat exhaustion, a stroke, and heat stress

By WAQAS AHMADPublished 9 months ago 3 min read
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How to distinguish between heat exhaustion, a stroke, and heat stress
Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

Heat-related sickness and injury language might be difficult to understand. Here is everything you need to know about heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke as severe heat warnings spread throughout the U.S.

A 90°F-day might be perfect for the beach. But once you start working your body, whether it’s mowing the lawn, going for a hike, or sprinting to catch the bus, your metabolism ramps up, burning fuel and raising your body’s core temperature. Your heart compensates by pumping blood away from your overheated organs to your skin, where dilating blood vessels can dissipate the heat with the help of evaporating sweat. If you are dehydrated and can no longer sweat, if it’s humid and the sweat can’t evaporate, or if it is simply too hot for human adaptation, the process breaks down, leading to heat injuries and illnesses.

By Stefano Pollio on Unsplash
  • Warmth Stress

Heat stress is a blanket term that typically refers to any unfavorable effects from engaging in physical exercise in the heat. Heat rash and other symptoms like cramps, lightheadedness, and fainting are early indicators that the body's self-cooling system is overworked. Heat stress can have more serious effects, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, if it is left untreated.

People who are experiencing heat stress should halt all activities, relocate to a cooler, shady area, and sip water or clear juice slowly. Cramps typically happen after excessive sweating, which depletes the body's electrolyte and water reserves. While sports drinks like Gatorade, Pedialyte, and others can assist replenish lost fluids and electrolytes, energy drinks should be avoided since the added caffeine causes more dehydration. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises consulting a doctor if the cramps do not go away in an hour, the patient has cardiac issues, or is following a low sodium diet.

  • Exhaustion of heat
  • Heat exhaustion can develop when the body has lost too much water and electrolytes as a result of excessive perspiration. Aside from headaches and irritation, symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fainting, slurred speech, muscular weakness, and an increase in body temperature. Repeated episodes of heat exhaustion can harm your organs, especially the kidneys. Rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissues brought on by severe heat exhaustion, can result in abnormal cardiac rhythms, convulsions, and acute kidney injury.

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Victims with apparent heat exhaustion should be sent to a cool, air-conditioned place as soon as feasible, and urged to sip on little amounts of cold beverages often. If the victim cannot be transferred to a hospital emergency room or clinic, dial 911. Shower the head, face, neck, and wrists with water or use cold compresses, then take off your shoes, socks, and any constricting or heavy clothes.

  • Warm Stroke

The most dangerous heat-related sickness is heat stroke. When the body can no longer control its internal temperature and its core body temperature rises beyond 104°F, the condition is brought on. Within 10-15 minutes, the body will stop sweating as its essential systems are shut down, and its core temperature might reach 108°F. Other signs might be delirium, convulsions, or losing consciousness. If the sufferer doesn't get prompt medical care, which may involve a cold IV drip, they are likely to pass away or become permanently disabled within a few hours.

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