Care

How The Heat Hurts You

We each have our own personal air-conditioning system inside our bodies. When we get hot, we sweat. Perspiration is our body’s way of cooling off. As sweat evaporates, our body releases heat. But when you get extremely hot, sweat doesn’t evaporate. The body then has to work extra hard to keep its temperature down. In time, our body will be unable to rid itself of the excess heat. This leads to a high body temperature and heat-related illness.

Recognize warning signs

The heat can take its toll on your body and make you sick. Heat-related illness can even be life-threatening. Learn how to spot signals of heat-related illness. They range from cramps to muscle spasms due to lost nutrients to more serious signs like dizziness or fainting.

Heat exhaustion is a warning sign that your body cannot keep itself cool. Stop exercising right away. Heat exhaustion is dangerous and may lead to heat stroke.

Symptoms include:

• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Confusion or disorientation
• Headache
• Cramps
• Nausea or vomiting
• Dehydration

Heat stroke is life-threatening. Stop exercising right away and call 9-1-1 for any of the following symptoms:
• Unusual behavior, hallucinations or confusion
• Fainting
• Seizures
• Fever of 104 degrees F or greater

Seek immediate medical attention if the person:
• Is vomiting and unable to keep fluids down
• Has dizziness or lightheadedness
• Looks very ill or is not getting better

Heat illness is more likely to occur in people who
• Are 65 or older
• Have chronic illnesses
• Are pregnant

Always check with your doctor before you take your exercise routine to the great outdoors.