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Heat Exhaustion - How To Prevent It

Heat exhaustion is obviously not something any of us would want to experience but as it's a condition that can affect us while enjoying the hot weather around a pool I wanted to give some information about what causes it and how we can prevent it. I do not have medical qualifications but I have researched the subject and to the best of my knowledge the information is accurate so I hope this article will be of help to you. First of all lets look at what causes it.

Lets look at what happens when your body gets too hot

Your body needs to keep it's internal temperature at about 98.6F (37c) and in hot weather it does this by sweating to cool itself, however when you exercise strenuously or other wise overexert in hot, humid weather,your body is less able to cool itself efficiently.

Your body may develop heat cramps, the signs of which are heavy sweating, fatigue, thirst and muscle cramps. You can treat heat cramps by drinking water or sports drinks but not ones which contain caffeine, move into the shade or an air-conditioned room and rest. Prompt treatment can prevent the condition progressing to heat exhaustion. Dehydration will impede the bodies ability to sweat and maintain a normal temperature, so make sure you drink plenty of water or soft drinks. Alcohol can also affect the body's ability to maintain a normal temperature and of course overdressing, particularly in clothes that don't allow sweat to evaporate easily will contribute to over heating.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms may come on suddenly and resemble those of being in shock. The skin may feel hot and moist and appear flushed. Other symptoms may include.

1. Heavy sweating

2. Faintness

3. Weak, rapid pulse

4. Low blood pressure

5. Nausea

6. Low grade fever

7. Headache

8. Dark urine


Looking At Prevention

In hot weather remember to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Your body will more easily be able to maintain its correct temperature when you stay hydrated.
  • Avoid sunburn. Protect yourself with a sun umbrella or wide brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen to skin exposed to the sun. Having sunburn reduces the body's ability to rid itself of heat.
  • Try to spend time in an air-conditioned building when the weather is extreemly hot as even a few hours is a good way to keep the temperature normal.
  • Wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing in light colours to enable your body to get rid of excess heat.
  • Avoid parking the car in a hot place as temperatures soon soar inside it. Open the doors before you get back in to allow heat to escape and never leave children, animals or anyone else in a parked car for any period of time.
  • Consult your doctor as to whether any medication you may be on could make you more susceptable to heat exhaustion and if so what precautions you should take.

On Seeking Medical Advice

If you think you or someone else is suffering from heat exhaustion and you have:

  • Moved to a cooler place
  • Drank cool water or soft drinks
  • Have rested.

If you have done the above but symptoms worsen or haven't improved within 30 mins, seek medical advice and seek immediate medical advice if your temperature reaches 104f (40c) or higher.


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