Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke - Signs and Symptoms

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real possibilities, even if you try your best to safeguard against them! The incredible heat waves and indexes are enough to keep you locked inside your house, just so you can remain cool.

However, not going outside isn't always optional. If you work or train outside, its hard to escape the heat of the day. This becomes an even bigger concern if you’re exposed to hot temps for prolonged periods of time.



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Do you know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke? If not, it's good to go over them from time to time, so you remember what to do if you ever need help. They have been updated many times over the years as the medical industry learns more about them. It's so important to review what to look for, so you don't get caught off guard.

Excessive heat is also a major concern for the elderly, excessively overweight people, and small children. Their bodies cannot withstand extreme temperature changes as well as the rest of the population.

Problems from excessive heat can also happen in a gym or in any sports activity that requires a lot of movement. Staying hydrated is the only way to give your body a fighting chance to keep you out of medical trouble! Knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion can literally save your life.

Drinking ample amounts of water is the first line of defense that keeps you properly hydrated, but if you’re drinking lots of plain water, you maybe flushing out precious electrolytes.

Electrolytes keep you from passing out. If levels are low or unbalanced, you are likely to succumb to the effects of heat much more easily. You may not realize how important they are to your health and well being.

Electolytes are responsible for all major cell activity in your body. They form what is known as the sodium potassium chain. Without them, we’d all be dead. That’s how important they are. When you sweat excessively, you lose vital electrolytes. Drinking lots of water can help replace the fluids in your body and may ward off heat exhaustion for a while, but if you don’t replace the sodium and potassium in your body, you are fighting a losing battle.

Both muscle tissue and neurons are considered to be electric tissues of your body. Muscles and nerve transmissions are activated by electrolyte activity between the fluids of the body. Electrolytes enter and leave cell membranes through special protein structures.

Muscle contractions, for example, are dependent on the presence of calcium, sodium, and potassium. Without sufficient levels of these key electrolytes, muscle weakness or severe muscle contractions may occur. Serious electrolyte disturbances, such as dehydration and over-hydration, may lead to cardiac and neurological complications. Unless these symptoms are quickly resolved, you will be in a medical emergency.

To replenish them, alternate drinking water with *sports drinks or you can make your own electrolyte drink at home to have on hand!

*Sports drinks like Gatorade, contain lots of extra sugar's your body doesn't likely require. Still, they're better than nothing if you're caught in a pinch. Everyone should know the warning signs of heat exhaustion to be better prepared for the unexpected!

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion



  • Heavy sweating
  • Cool, moist, pale skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

    If heat exhaustion is NOT treated quickly, it may progress to heat stroke, which is an emergency. Seek medical attention and call 911 immediately if you suspect heat stroke. Heat exhaustion can be very dangerous and should not be taken lightly.

    Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Confusion
  • Dry, pale skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fast, weak pulse


    If symptoms persist, worsen, or last longer than 1 hour, please seek medical help.


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    Ways to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

  • Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages
  • Take frequent breaks out of the heat
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Go into an air conditioned building
  • Wear lightweight and light colored clothing
  • Fan yourself

    Electrolyte drinks can be home-made by using the correct proportions of sugar, salt, and water. Here is a basic recipe for a simple electrolyte drink that you can make anytime.

    Some people add baking soda to the recipe, however, it is not necessary to do so. If you get the wrong amount of baking soda in the mix, it can render the solution useless.

    Electrolyte Recipe

    Boil together:

  • 4 C. water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


    Hard boil the water to purify it, then add the salt and sugar. Mix well. Remove from heat. Cool the mixture down before drinking! This mixture is safe to drink for up to 24 hours. After that, throw away what’s left over and remake the solution.

    If you are sick to your stomach, take small amounts at a time, approximately 1 spoonful every minute. My mom always made this recipe when me when I couldn't stop hurling.

    You can add some flavors to this drink to make it more pleasurable to drink. Lemon juice, a sprinkle of Kool Aid or Crystal Light, and orange juice are alright to use. When my son was young, he drank the plain mixture down just fine, (for excessive diarrhea), so mixing it with something else isn't necessary. Your body craves what it needs, so if you are in a medical emergency, don't complain and just drink it.

    Heat exhaustion may exacerbate into heat stroke very quickly. It's good to recognize the warning signs so you can make the correct assessments quickly. Be equally concerned about your pets. They can suffer from symptoms too! If you keep them outside in extreme hot temperatures, be sure to provide them with plenty of cool water!


    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.



    Related Pages on This Site

    Tips for Staying Cool to Beat the Heat

    How to Save Money on Air Conditioning Costs, Keep Cool, and Pay Less for Energy

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    Remedies for Colds, Cough, and Congestion – Simple Solutions for Less Confusion

    Fight the Flu Naturally – Smart Ways to Feel Better Faster!

    Sore Throat Pain Relief – Home Remedies and Concoctions

    How to Relieve Stress and Save Your Health

    The Secrets of Longevity

    Stay Healthy and Enjoy More of Your Life!

    Healthy Heart Diet, Nutrition, and Lifestyle

    Reduce the Risk of Cancer through Nutrition

    Resources

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