When an individual feels dizzy, thirsty and nauseated during a warm and humid weather, it simply means that he/she is suffering from heat exhaustion. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can progress to heatstroke which the most severe of the heat-related problems. A heatstroke is considered as a serious medical emergency that requires IV fluids to help the body rehydrate and avoid damage to the vital organs such as the brain.
What the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion typically occurs in areas that have warm climates in which the humidity level is high. This condition occurs once the individual does not drink enough fluids. As the body starts to overheat, the individual will look pale, feel faint or suffers a headache.
Once the condition progresses, a low grade fever can develop followed by fatigue and the blood pressure drops. In this condition, the vital organs do not receive enough blood.
Even though it takes some time for an individual to become severely dehydrated, the warning signs of heat exhaustion typically occur abruptly. An individual can move about energetically and then the next moment, his/her face starts to redden while the skin feels hot and moist. The first time it occurs, most are confused with the symptoms. However, the first aid measures for heat exhaustion can provide relief.
Treatment for heat exhaustion
The first thing to do is to look for a shaded area to rest or bring the individual to a cool place. If air conditioning is available, it can help cool down the individual but he/she can rebound a lot faster if cold compresses or an ice pack is applied on the skin.
A damp towel placed around the neck or on the forehead can help out a lot. In case the individual could not go inside, you have to douse him/her with water to cool down the body. Once heat exhaustion occurs, it simply means that the body is running out of electrolytes. Provide the individual with cold water or fluids that contain electrolytes such as Gatorade to drink. Position the individual flat on his/her back and elevate the legs higher than the level of the heart. If the individual does not feel relief in 30 minutes, seek medical care.
Who are at risk for heat exhaustion?
Babies, young children, obese and elderly are at high risk for heat exhaustion. The bodies of young children are not yet fully developed to control the temperature in extreme weather conditions.
The elderly who take prescribed medications that have dehydration as the side effect are also prone to heat exhaustion. Even obesity will make an individual susceptible to heat since the excess weight can disrupt the ability of the body to regulate the temperature properly.
Preventing heat exhaustion
The best way to prevent heat exhaustion is to drink a lot of water and avoid caffeinated beverages. During the summer season, opt for loose-fitting clothes that can keep the body cool and always wear a hat.