Summer is in full swing and while this time of year is usually filled with fun and sunshine, it also brings heat waves.
In recent years, climate change and rising global temperatures have triggered record heat waves across the world.
Scientists have warned that as temperatures climb, people will see more severe examples occur each year compared to other types of extreme weather.
As we prepare for more intense summer conditions, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and how it differs from heat exhaustion.
The latter occurs when the body is exposed to high temperatures and excessive sweating, usually due to loss of water and salt in the body.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, some symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, headache, heavy sweating, dizziness, and pale or clammy skin.
Heat exhaustion happens when the body can’t cool itself, so it’s important to get out of the sun and into a cool place.
You can also treat heat exhaustion by loosening any tight clothing, hydrating yourself with sports drinks containing salt and sugar, or applying cold compresses to your head, face, and neck.
If these heat exhaustion symptoms are ignored, it can lead to more harmful heat-related illnesses like heat stroke. This is much more serious than heat exhaustion and can cause permanent or life-threatening emergencies if left untreated.
Heatstroke is a condition in which the body can no longer control its temperature. When this happens, body temperature can reach 41 C (106 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher in 10 to 15 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling down, with heatstroke our sweating mechanism begins to shut down. In heatstroke caused by hot weather, the skin may feel hot and dry. Other symptoms include rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. If treatment is delayed, it can even lead to seizures, coma and death.
As soon as someone starts showing signs of heat stroke, move them to a cooler place, loosen tight clothing, and soak the skin with cold water or ice. In many situations, it is also recommended to immediately consult emergency medical services.
As summer approaches, it is important to be aware of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Just because we want to have fun in the sun doesn’t mean we can’t be safe. Remember: stay hydrated.