As the dog days of summer are upon us, so are the high temps and humidity. Summer can be a lot of fun but it can also be dangerous. Every year, according to the CDC, over 600 people die from extreme heat. Thousands more are treated for heat related conditions. The very young and very old are at the most risk. When people are not careful and are exposed to too much heat they can suffer from heat exhaustion. This is a very serious condition and needs to be treated immediately. If people don’t take it very seriously heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke very rapidly and this can be deadly.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, fatigue, cool moist skin, nausea.
If it progresses to Heat Stroke the signs and symptoms include HA, dizziness, lack of sweating, red hot skin, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate and rapid shallow breathing.
The key is when people stop sweating Heat Exhaustion becomes Heat Stroke. When this happens people need to go directly to ER.
The good news is if we are smart we can enjoy the summer and stay healthy. Here are a few steps to follow to keep from overheating:
1. Stay hydrated - drink water before being out in the heat and then continue to drink water while outside in the heat and sun. It's easier to stay hydrated than to catch up once you're dehydrated!
2. Take frequent breaks
3. If you aren’t feeling well get out of the heat or at least rest in the shade
4. Find and alternate activity, out of the heat
5. Remember the very young and elderly are at the most risk
If you follow these steps, the heat of summer can be fun and safe. Keep an eye out for other around you that may appear to be suffering from the heat!
By: Brian Colvin, PT
Steve Bartz, PT