Summer is here, and with it comes the risk of heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These two conditions are caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures and are often seen in individuals who are not properly prepared for hot weather. However, while they share some similarities, there are significant differences between the two, and understanding these differences is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment.
What is Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a condition that occurs when the body overheats and is unable to cool itself down. It is usually caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures and is more common in individuals who are not accustomed to hot weather.
According to National Health Service (NHS)-UK, if you can cool down within 30 minutes of experiencing heat exhaustion, you typically don't need immediate medical attention. It needs to be handled as an emergency if it develops into a heatstroke.
Also Read: 5 Ways To Protect The Eyes From Heatwave
Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion
According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the warning signs of heat exhaustion are as follows:
If you experience heavy sweating, nausea or vomiting, and cold, pale and clammy skin, then you may have suffered from heat exhaustion. Additionally, fast, weak pulse, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, muscle cramps, headache, and fairness are the warning signs of heatstroke.
What to Do When You Suffer Heat Exhaustion
The CDC recommended moving to a cool place and loosening clothes. You can take a cool bath or put cool, wet clothes over your body. Additionally, make sure you sip water to reduce the effects of heat exhaustion. Immediately seek medical help if you are throwing up, your symptoms get worse, and last longer than one hour.
What is Heatstroke
Heatstroke is a more serious condition than heat exhaustion and occurs when the body's temperature regulation system fails, and the body temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celcius) or greater.
Also Read: Do’s and Don’ts During Heatwave: How To Protect Yourself?
Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion
According to CDC, the warning signs of heatstroke are as follows.
High body temperature (above 103°F or 39.4°C), fast, strong pulse, and hot, red, dry, or damp skin are warning signs of heatstroke you should look for. You should also see if you are feeling dizziness, headaches, confusion, nausea, or loss of consciousness.
What to Do in Case Of Heatstroke
Since heatstroke is more dangerous, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should move to a cooler place and try to lower your temperature with a cool cloth or bath. As per the CDC, you should not give a person suffering from heatstroke anything to drink.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are serious conditions that can occur when the body is exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods. While they share some symptoms, there are significant differences between the two, and it is important to understand these differences to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Preventing these conditions requires taking steps to avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures, staying properly hydrated, and recognising the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
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