Summer Thought!

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when fluid losses from sweating and respiration are greater than the internal fluid reserves, or in other words, too much fluid is lost for the body to continue. Heat exhaustion is really a form of shock. The lack of fluid causes the body constrict blood vessels, especially in the arms and legs. To understand heat exhaustion, think of a car with a radiator leak pulling a trailer up a mountain pass. There is not enough fluid in the system to cool off the engine, so the car overheats. To solve the problem, simply add fluid. That goes for both your body and the car.

 

The signs of heat exhaustion are the following:

Sweating

Skin-pale, and clammy

Pulse rate increased

Respiration rate increased

Temperature normal or slightly elevated

Urine output decreased

Patient feels weak, dizzy, thirsty, "sick", and/or anxious

Nausea and vomiting

Treatment:

The only way to treat for heat exhaustion is to have the patient stop exercising, and to re hydrate the patient. The patient must be very careful about resuming physical activity. Have the patient lie down, preferably in a cool or shaded area. Elevate his/her feet and give him/her plenty of liquids, particularly liquids that contain salt (1/2 teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt per quart or liter of water). Have the patient drink slowly, drinking too much salt to fast often causes nausea and vomiting. The patient should not resume vigorous activity until all their fluids are restored, and they have a normal urinary output, and only then, with great caution. Evacuation is not necessary for heat exhaustion, but if left untreated, heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heatstroke. Closely monitor the patients temperature, and make sure his/her temperature does not elevate past 103 degrees.

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