How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion
by A. Grano
The blazing summer sun can be brutal in the mid-summer months, so don’t mess with Mother Nature on days when the thermometer is at record levels!
Heat exhaustion can affect anyone – even conditioned athletes! Heat exhaustion is caused by a depletion of fluids and a subsequent rise in body temperature, and in serious cases, can lead to shock, seizures or deadly heatstroke.
Home remedies for cooling down
- Splash with water or apply cool compresses/towels – Rather than immersing someone in cool water, lightly splashing him or her or using a cool compress allows the water to evaporate more quickly off the skin and thus cool the person down faster.
- Find A/C. This isn’t always possible if heat exhaustion strikes, but is highly recommended.
- Hydrate. Water is best, but diluted electrolyte beverages are also acceptable. Never offer alcohol, which only exacerbates dehydration.
Prior to spending time out in the heat, keep the following tips in mind, gathered from health experts as well as recreational coaches and trainers:
- Follow the “everything in moderation” rule. If you’re accustomed to working indoors all week, don’t expect to be able to acclimate to more extreme outdoor temperatures on the weekend. Build up your tolerance gradually.
- Avoid caffeine and smoking. Caffeine speeds up dehydration, often contributing to excessive sweating, while smoking constricts blood vessels and impairs the body’s ability to properly acclimate to heat.
- Eat fruits and veggies. High in water content, natural foods also provide good salt balance.
- Shield the sun by wearing a hat, but make sure it is well-ventilated. In addition, choose lighter colored clothing, which deflects heat rather than absorbing it like dark colors.
If someone does not respond within 30 minutes of self-care, watch for these warning signs and seek medical attention:
- Trouble walking
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