Breakdown: Heat stroke, how & why it can happen so quickly

Breakdown: Heat stroke, how & why it can happen so fast

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -With the pandemic there are many summer activities that may not be operating as usual. Places like pools and parks that normally help us keep the kids busy. This may mean that the kids may spend a lot more time in the backyard or we may try to get outside more to help break up the day. If you are planning to be outside and especially active outside it’s a good idea to know how to read the signs of heat-related illness. Every year over 650 people die due to heat related illness. It is important to know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Both conditions occur when the body becomes dehydrated but can differ between the two.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can occur when your body is overheated, usually with a fever as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. With heat exhaustion you sweat but. One of the main symptoms of heat exhaustion is characterized by excessive sweating, while those suffering from heatstroke stop sweating. Here is a list of other heat exhaustion symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Cool and clammy skin
  • Confusion or anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Nausea
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Weakness and fatigue

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is more serious and occurs when the body’s temperature rises so much that the body is unable to cool itself. This typically happens when the body reaches a temperatures of 104-106 degrees Fahrenheit. Doctors warn that it can happen suddenly. Doctors warn that it is possible for your body to overheat so quickly that it skips past the symptoms of heat exhaustion and goes straight to heatstroke. Heat stroke can happen fast especially in those who are active in the heat. Young athletes and small children can be susceptible. Some medications and alcohol could contribute in raising your body temperature.

Heatstroke is characterized by decreased sweating, as well as hot, flushed skin. Other symptoms include:

  • Confusion, delirium or loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Decreased urination and/or blood in urine or stool
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breathe

The biggest differences in symptoms can be compared by your heart rate and how much you sweat or lack there of. Heat exhaustion includes slow heartbeat, clamminess, heavy sweating and a desire for water. Heat stroke, on the other hand, includes rapid heartbeat, and a decrease in urination and sweating.

  • Slow and sweaty = heat exhaustion
  • Fast and dry = heatstroke

Both conditions of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are potentially life threatening. Medical professionals say that if you or someone near you shows any signs of either condition, get them out of the heat and seek medical attention immediately.

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