Heatstroke is the deadliest heat illness. But left untreated, all heat-related illnesses can become deadly. Luckily, this guide can help you chill out the two most common types in their early stages.
Heat Cramps Result from Losing Salt
Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that typically target the stomach, arms, or legs. They occur when muscles are deprived of salt. Salt often is lost through excessive sweating, such as during a workout.
Take the following first aid steps to combat heat cramps:
* Find a cool place and sit quietly.
* Drink clear juice, a sports beverage, or 500 milliliters of water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
* Get medical attention if heat cramps do not go away within an hour. Also seek immediate help if you have heat cramps and are on a low-sodium diet or have heart problems.
* Avoid strenuous activity for a few hours once cramps subside.
Heat Exhaustion Often Feels Like the Flu
Heat exhaustion can happen after being exposed to high temperatures and not drinking enough fluids. It may occur suddenly or develop after several days of continuous heat exposure. In fact, it might feel a bit like the flu.
* fatigue and/or weakness
* nausea or vomiting
* heavy sweating
* intense thirst.
If you suspect heat exhaustion, find a cooler environment--either in shade or an air-conditioned building or car. Remove any heavy layers of clothing, and apply water or cold, wet towels to the skin. Sip small amounts of cool water or sports drinks.
Find help immediately, however, if you have clammy skin, a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, or no improvement with the above self-care measures.