If I had a buck for each time a frilly little something proclaimed that ‘this heat is giving me a heat stroke,’ I’d be rich and on my way to the Caymans. If one of you really did succumb to a heat stroke, you’d be complaining about a lot more than just sweat and a headache. Since I’m not making any money from this tall claim, I figured I might as well dispel the hype and exaggeration that is our reaction to heat.
MedicineNet.com calls Heat Stroke a “true medical emergency that can be fatal if not properly and promptly treated.” In exceptionally hot weather, or rigorous exertion in the sun, the human body fails to rid itself of elevated heat. This causes a sharp increase in body temperature, which in turn causes nausea, fatigue, cramps and dizziness, among other severe symptoms. The speed at which different people exhibit heat stroke symptoms varies, but some of the common indicators are: Hallucinations, difficulty in breathing, rapid pulse and hot flushed, dry skin.
Bottom-line: Heat stroke, a severe form of hyperthermia, occurs when the human body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. This is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention.
But we do feel hot. And we do get headaches. Some of us even experience mild nausea, mysterious cramping and loss of appetite. Could it be something milder, perhaps? Yes it could. Here are three other milder forms of hyperthermia that you could be suffering from, along with their symptoms and home remedies:
Heat Cramps Symptoms
Muscle pains or spasms usually in the abdomen, arms or legs. Spasms usually occur in coordination with strenuous physical activity.
Home remedies: Rest in a cool place. Drink clear juice or electrolyte enriched drinks. Do not go back to strenuous activity even after cramps subside – that may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Serious when: Heat cramps do not subside within an hour, go to a doctor.
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
Heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, fainting, muscle cramps, fainting.
Home remedies: Rest, cool non-alcoholic beverages, cool shower, bath or sponge bath, air conditioning, light clothing
Serious when: Symptoms worsen or last for more than an hour, consult a doctor. Untreated heat exhaustion may lead to a heat stroke. If individual has heart problems or displays severe heat exhaustion symptoms, take him/her to the doctor immediately.
Dry mouth and eyes, dry skin – sweating nearly stops, muscle cramps, nausea, heart palpitations, light headedness.
Prevention: Re-hydration with water, clear broths, and any other water replacements that contain electrolytes, like Gatorade.
Home remedies: Fluid replacement and control through diet and medication. Fever medication.
Serious when: Fluid replacement does not work, the individual needs immediate medical attention.
Any form of hyperthermia, whether mild or severe, is no laughing matter. Dehydration alone, as mild or easily treated as it might seem, can lead to a number of health complications that can potentially become lifelong ailments such as kidney trouble, electrolyte imbalances etc.
Do yourself a favour. When you step out in the harsh sunlight to trudge your way across the city for that meeting, carry some cold water, invest in a spritzer, use skin and lips moistening tools like lip balm and cold wipes. A small bottle of an electrolyte enriched sports drink won’t hurt either. But whatever it is, just remember that a mild sweat session and a wee bit of a headache, doth not a heat stroke make.
Related Article: How to Prevent Heat Stroke
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