Heat-related illnesses – Types, symptoms and treatment part 2
In our previous post about heat-related illnesses, we have covered the 4 basic types of ailments that typically result from extremely hot temperatures. In ascending order of severity, they are heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Heat rash is a skin manifestation that usually appears in the neck, chest, or groin. Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps usually associated with dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Heat exhaustion joins dehydration with dysregulation of body temperature, and patients feel weak, irritable and tired. Heat stroke is the most severe type of heat-related illness, and it is associated with alterations in the levels of consciousness, organ failure, and other severe health complications.
As you can see, each one of them increases the level of severity as the problem persists, and no measure is taken to correct the situation. Thus, it is imperative to start early treatment and know when it is appropriate to call for medical attention. In this article, we will give you relevant information to understand how to treat these conditions yourself and what to do in each category of heat-related illnesses.
If you’re growing a rash in your skin and it is associated with hot temperatures or sunlight exposure, the first thing you need to do is moving to a dry and cool place. Avoid the sun and hot temperatures and try to keep the rash dry as much as possible.
This heat-related illness results from physical activity and dehydration. Thus, it is essential to stop all types of physical activity and drink a sports beverage or a rehydration solution. Stay in a cool place while muscle spasms and pain go away, and only after that will you be able to resume physical activity.
Be careful with heat cramps and consult with an internist or a health professional if you have heart problems or if your condition lasts for 1 hour or more.
A patient with heat exhaustion often feels weak and dizzy, and it is essential to keep him in a cool place and adopt a resting position with loosened clothes to reduce body heat. Drinking cold water might improve the condition, but drinking too much might cause nausea. It is a good idea to use cold packs or take a cold bath, but you should be careful with extreme temperatures in children and seniors.
Be careful and get medical help if the symptoms do not improve after these measures, when they last for more than one hour, and if you start throwing up repeatedly.
Heat stroke is an absolute emergency, and it is imperative to call 997 right away when the patient has started showing alterations in their level of consciousness. As medical assistance arrives, move the patient to a cool place, use cold packs, or give him a cool bath. In this case, it is essential not to give the patient anything to drink because there’s a risk of breathing liquid into the airways.