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3 Heat-Related Illnesses and How to Avoid Them

By Virginia Laird

Living in southern California, summertime heat is no front page news. However, it is important to know how to avoid heat-related illnesses. A person need not spend a ton of time outside to experience any heat-related issues. There are three heat-related illnesses to be familiar with, including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. When the signs are recognized early, it is possible to have few complications. By the same token, when left unnoticed, these issues can become serious or even fatal.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency and should never be taken lightly. It can become fatal. Always call 911 when anyone suffers from a heat stroke. There are several symptoms that help to identify this problem. Those suffering from heat stroke have a difficult time sweating. The person’s skin will feel hot and very dry to the touch. A person may also experience rapid heart rate as well as be very disoriented.

Heat Exhaustion

While heat exhaustion is not generally fatal, it should be treated quickly. It is highly likely a person suffering with this issue may need an IV administered, therefore proper medical attention should be summoned. People suffering from heat exhaustion may have clammy and cool feeling skin. The victim may also become disoriented and experience rapid breathing. Opposite from heat stroke, the victim experiencing heat exhaustion may have a very light pulse.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps is the mildest and least serious of all the heat related illnesses. These are not classified as a medical emergency. Heat cramps are muscle cramps caused by dehydration and loss of salt (via sweat) in the body. When someone is suffering from these, hydration and rest can help.

Preventing Heat Illnesses

Anyone would rather prevent these heat-related illnesses from happening rather than having to deal with the consequences of them. Staying hydrated can help prevent all of these illnesses. If hydration is a concern for you or a family member, consider investing in a water bottle that can be carried everywhere. Another way to help prevent these heat caused-problems is to take breaks often when working in a hot and/or humid environment.

Be aware of the temperatures, especially when heading outdoors. It is important to be willing to alter any plans that may not jive with super hot temps and high humidity. If you have to be outside with such conditions, be prepared. 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

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