Tips to Stay Well in the Heat
When the body does not have enough fluid it becomes dehydrated. In the summer, sweating causes dehydration. Some signs of dehydration are feeling very thirsty and having muscle cramps. You may also feel dizzy when you go from a sitting position to a standing position when you are dehydrated. This dizziness occurs because when your body does not have enough fluid, it causes your blood pressure to drop. Severe signs of dehydration are confusion and chest pain which occur due to low blood pressure caused by not having enough fluid. The more dehydrated you get, the lower your blood pressure will go.
If you have mild dehydration you can fix your dehydration by drinking water. If your symptoms do not improve with drinking water or if you have severe symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention by calling 911.
Severe cases may require IV fluid replacement. Dehydration can be deadly!
You can prevent dehydration by drinking water throughout the day. Most people do not need sports drinks to stay hydrated and one downside of sports drinks is the high sugar content. Avoid alcoholic beverages when having fun in the sun as these will lead to dehydration.
Hyperthermia occurs when your body gets overheated. Symptoms of hyperthermia are similar to dehydration and include dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, and muscle cramping. Some severe symptoms of hyperthermia are having a body temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, red, hot dry skin, having a very fast pulse, confusion, and unconsciousness.
If you have symptoms of hyperthermia, get in the air conditioning, stop any exercise and remove any extra clothing if possible. If your symptoms don’t improve or if you have severe symptoms call 911; hyperthermia can be deadly.
What Will the Hospital Do?
The hospital has many different methods to cool you down safely and quickly. Some of them include submerging you in an ice bath, cooling blankets, and pouring cold water over you. Another method is applying ice packs to your armpits, neck, and groin, which are areas that have large blood vessels. When the ice packs are on top of large blood vessels the blood traveling through your body gets colder.
At this point, you are probably thinking that buying out all the ice at the grocery store will be way cheaper than that pesky hospital bill, so pay attention. If you lose consciousness due to being over-heated you may not be able to breathe without help and the ER staff can help manage your airway and keep you breathing. The hospital staff will be constantly checking your body temperature, to make sure your body temperature is getting cooler but not too cold. Too much ice bath can cause hypothermia, low body temperature which is also dangerous.
*This article is intended for general information purposes only and is not medical advice. Please seek counseling from your primary care provider for personalized medical advice.