In the hot humid months of summer, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke are a definite concern for the elderly as well as anyone who must work outside in the sweltering heat. Even those having fun in the sun can become victims of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Many people don’t realize how fast they can become dehydrated during bouts of hot weather, and they don’t realize the effects of heat and humidity until they’re overcome by heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
You can avoid being overcome by heat exhaustion or heatstroke by taking precautionary measures. The following information will help you recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and will provide information on how to treat this potentially life-threatening condition.
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
With summer comes extreme heat and humidity, and with extreme heat and humidity comes heat related illness. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include cold, moist skin that’s gray in appearance; profuse sweating; headache, nausea, and queasiness; rapid inhalation and a rapid pulse; and dizziness that might result in fainting.
Heat Exhaustion Treatment
Have the person suffering from heat exhaustion lie down or sit in a cooler location, and have them remove as much of their clothing as possible. Give the person suffering from heat exhaustion up to 32-ounces of cool water, and place them in front of a fan in an effort to cool them down quickly. If the person doesn’t recover within a half hour, heatstroke is a possibility.
The symptoms of heatstroke are much more pronounced and much more serious. The symptoms of heatstroke can include dry, hot, red skin; erratic breathing; erratic pulse; unconsciousness; enlarged pupils; muscle twitching; and seizures. Don’t wait until heat exhaustion develops into heatstroke. Take the necessary measures to seek relief from the heat, and treat the symptoms as follows.
Immediate and extreme treatment measures are necessary if heatstroke is suspected. Remove the victim’s shirt, and wrap the person in sheets or towels soaked with cold water. Place plastic bags of ice on pulse points – beneath the knees and armpits, on the ankles and wrists, both sides of the neck, and the groin area. The person can also be placed in a tub of the coldest water tolerable until professional medical treatment is sought.
Call for emergency assistance, or if you’re close to a hospital, take the heatstroke victim to the emergency room for immediate professional treatment. Keep the victim wrapped in cool wet sheets or towels during the trip to the hospital.