7 Ways to Know You’re Suffering from a Heat-Related Illness
Photo credit: Bark/Flickr
For for millions of people, summer is a time to get outdoors, lounge by the pool and hang out on the beach. But summer heat has a darker side: The combined effects of heat and humidity can do a number on your body. And for many people this leads to heat exhaustion or, worse yet, a heat stroke.
So, how do you know when you’re suffering from a heat-related illness?
Here’s a list of the seven ways you know you’re in trouble:
1) Profuse Sweating
This is an indication your body is trying to compensate for a higher core body temperature. Sweat is a salt-water solution and as the moisture on your skin evaporates it helps to cool the skin. Sweating also pulls water and electrolytes from your body and can cause the next symptom on the list.
Your body is 60% water. Sweating wicks water out of your body to help cool you skin and unless you’re replacing those fluids, you could be moving into the heat illness danger zone.
If you all of a sudden feel abnormally tired, while in the sun, it’s an indication you could be in the beginning stages of a heat-related illness.
4) Muscle Cramps
Sweating aids in dehydration, which aids in the development of muscle cramps. Muscle cramps are caused by loss of essential minerals — through sweating — like potassium and calcium.
You may start out the day feeling well, but if you’ve been out in the heat for an extended period of time and you develop a severe headache. This is an indication you’re dehydrated and could be slipping into heat exhaustion.
This is the caused by the dip in electrolyte levels and dehydration.
This symptom is also directly attributed to dehydration, partially caused by vomiting and lack of hydration.
Photo Credit: Steven Delpolo
So how can you stay healthy in the heat?
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate (and not with your favorite adult beverage). Drinking water and sports drinks will help to keep you safely hydrated and keep your electrolyte levels stable. Alcohol will only make you more dehydrated. If you start feeling unwell, go sit in a cool, air conditioned space and rest. Simple changes in your outdoor activities can keep you out having fun all summer long.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond