If you live in a region that commonly experiences warm temperatures, engage in exercises and/or physical training, or, work outdoors, it is imperative that you learn about the common signs and symptoms of heat illness. Normally, the body is able to successfully cool itself through the means of sweating. However, there are instances in which it takes more than sweating to cool the temperature of the body. When the body does not cool as quickly and efficiently as is necessary, its temperature has the ability to increase to a potentially dangerous level. When this happens, it is possible to develop a heat-related illness.
While reducing the amount of time that you spend in hot temperatures, ensuring that you consume plenty of water for your size and level of physical activity, and ingesting salts and various types of minerals may assist in preventing heat illnesses, these steps may not always be enough. In this guide, you will learn the common signs and symptoms of a developed heat illness. By knowing these signs and symptoms, you have a better opportunity for seeking medical assistance when necessary and avoiding any health risks associated with the body becoming too hot.
Heat cramps is the most commonly experienced heat illness. This type of illness develops when the body loses salt – typically, through sweating. The most common symptom of this condition is exceptionally painful spasms of the muscles; however, other signs and symptoms may also be experienced. These include the following:
- Many people that experience this heat illness may experience heavy amounts of sweating.
- It is not uncommon for the sufferer to become lightheaded.
- Weakness is also a sign of heat cramps.
The next type of heat illness that may be experienced is heat exhaustion. This occurs when the body is subjected to extreme heat and starts to struggle in the process of cooling down. As this struggle continues, the systems of the body become extremely stressed. The following outlines the most common signs and symptoms of this heat illness:
- Most people experience profuse sweating.
- It is common for a sufferer to become lightheaded and experience bouts of nausea and vomiting.
- Most sufferers will become extremely thirsty.
- The pupils may become dilated.
- The skin is likely to become very moist and cool. In most cases, the skin will become pale; however, it is not uncommon for the skin to become red.
- The sufferer may develop a headache.
- The pulse may be rapid and weak.
- It is very common for a person having a bout of heat exhaustion to engage in actions that are not considered to be irrational.
The final type of heat illness is heatstroke. This is the most serious of all illnesses that are caused by heat exposure. This occurs when the cooling system of the body completely shuts down. Once this happens, the body is likely to go into a state of shock. Furthermore, damage to the brain may occur. Many people around the world have actually died from heatstroke. The following signs and symptoms may be experienced when a heatstroke occurs:
- The body will become dry due to the fact that it stops trying to cool the body through sweating.
- The sufferer’s skin will become noticeably hot and is likely to be extremely red.
- The core body temperature is likely to exceed 102°F.
- The pulse will be very strong and very fast.
- The breathing may be fast, but very shallow.
- The individual that is experiencing the heatstroke may show signs of extreme confusion and/or high levels of irritability.
- Seizures are commonly experienced.
- The sufferer is likely to show a high level of weakness.
- Unconsciousness may occur.
As you can see, there are many signs and symptoms associated with heat illness. The most commonly experienced symptom is discomfort, immense pain, and spasms of the muscles throughout the body. Muscle complications most often affect the calves, the abdomen, the arms, and the back. If you show any of the signs and symptoms outlined in this guide, you should seek medical assistance. Left untreated, a heat illness may prove to be deadly. Once you have recovered from the heat illness, you may engage in physical therapy in order to strengthen the body.