In extreme heat your body cools itself by sweating, but in some instances sweating isn't enough. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat fast enough. In these cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly, and very high body temperatures can be hazardous to your health causing damage to vital organs, including the brain. It can even lead to death.
Heat-related deaths can be prevented. You should keep the following tips in mind when working, exercising or having fun in the Oklahoma summer sun.
Heat stroke occurs when the body is not able to regulate its temperature. The body's temperature rises rapidly, sometimes up to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. When your body goes into heat stroke, your sweating mechanism fails and the body is unable to cool down.
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. The most important measures to prevent heat stroke are to avoid becoming dehydrated, and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.
Warning signs of heat stroke may include:
If someone suffers a heat stroke, you should call 911 then cool the victim by:
A more moderate form of heat-related illnesses is heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and unbalanced replacement of fluids. It is the body's response to losing too much water and salt contained in sweat.
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include:
If symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour, seek medical attention immediately because if heat exhaustion is not treated it could progress into heat stroke.
Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. The sweating reduces the body's salt and moisture, and the low salt level in the muscles may be the cause of heat cramps.
Heat cramps occur as muscle pains or spasms usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs. They usually improve with rest, drinking water and a cool environment. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet get medical attention for heat cramps.