Summer is here! Are you excited to get outdoor and enjoy the sun? However, don’t forget to stay hydrated and watch out for heat illnesses!
Our body can normally regulate our internal temperature with the process called homeostasis. Temperature homeostasis is all about the balance of heat accumulation and heat dissipation. When heat accumulation surpasses heat dissipation, however, hemostasis is lost and that can lead to hyperthermia. Hyperthermia can manifest itself as different symptoms, which can be categorized into different types of heat illnesses. Recognizing the symptoms of heat illnesses are important because this can be a medical emergency. Let’s learn more about the predisposing factors, symptoms, and prevention to heat illnesses!
Predisposing factors to heat illnesses:
1. HOT + HUMIDITY!!!
2. Hydration statues
3. Exercise and strenuous activity
5. Pre-existing illnesses
6. Certain drugs and medications (alcohol)
7. Skin disease (sunburn)
8. Lack of acclimatization
9. Previous history of heat illnesses
Symptoms to look out for:
- Edema in hands and feet
- Acute muscle cramps
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Extreme weakness
- Dizziness, vertigos
- Heat sensations
- Vomiting/ nausea
- Low BP
- Elevated pulse
- Temperature >99.1/ 37.3C
If you recognize any of the above symptoms, remove the person from the hot environment and initiate cooling as soon as possible. If the person's body temperature does not reverse spontaneously after external cooling, this will be a medical emergency.
- Stay hydrated - Bring and drink water or sports drink
- Wear breathable, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
- Wear sunscreen – sunburn can affect your body’s ability to dissipate heat
- Bring a cooling tool (wet towel/ cool air or water spray/ portable fan/ iced pack or water bottle..)
- Avoid exercising or staying in a hot and humid environment for a prolonged period
- DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN IN A HOT CAR!