Heat exhaustion belongs to the group of the heat-related illnesses.
The presentations common with heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over a period of time especially after extended periods of exercise . Possible symptoms and signs of heat exhaustion include the following:
Diagnosis is straightforward in cases of heat exhaustion as the symptoms are immediately visible to medical experts . To rule out a heat stroke however, the temperature of the patient may be taking to confirm diagnosis. When heat exhaustion has already progressed to heat stroke, there are some additional tests required. These may include:
Most of time, heat exhaustion can be treated without recourse to medical experts. This can be achieved by doing any of the following :
Within an hour of these treatment measures, the patient is supposed to feel relieved. When this is not the case, medical aid should be sought.
Common treatments used by medical experts include the use of intravenous fluids, immersion in cold water, use of ice packs and cooling blankets.
Majority of heat exhaustion cases pass off without any major damages. An important step to recovery is the recognition of symptoms before a stroke occurs . If the activity is stopped early enough, hydration will begin and the chances of complications occurring will be greatly reduced.
Heat exhaustion is seen when an individual exercises and works in a hot environment and the body is not able to cool off adequately . Dehydration sets in when there is water loss as a result of excessive sweating and this causes muscle cramps, weakness, nausea and vomiting. When this happens, consumption of enough fluid to replenish the body becomes difficult. The increased lack of water inhibits more sweating, evaporation and cooling.
Relative humidity is a very important factor in the development of heat exhaustion . When humidity is excessively high, the sweat on the skin cannot evaporate into the surrounding air and this leads to the failure of body temperature cooling.
Inhabitants of hot environment are also predisposed to heat exhaustion. Again, in the event of a heat wave, the elderly or isolated and incapacitated individuals are at the risk of a heat exhaustion due to inability to access air conditioning.
Heat exhaustion and related ailments has a high incidence in the United States and there is an average of 334 deaths per year as a result of this spectrum of illnesses . Internationally, heat exhaustion incidence is poorly documented as it is rarely seen in most parts of the globe especially the tropics.
Although there is a marked variation in ambient temperatures, humans as well as other mammals are able to maintain a particular body temperature by the natural ability to balance out heat gain with heat loss .
Heat exhaustion and other related illnesses ensue when heat gain firmly overwhelms the body’s mechanisms of heat loss. Excessive heat leads to important physiologic changes such as denaturation of proteins, destabilization of phospholipids and lipoproteins and liquefaction of membrane lipids. These lead to cardiovascular collapse, multiple organ failure and death. There is no exact temperature at which cardiovascular collapse can occur. This is because there are a variety of factors that can contribute to or delay organ dysfunction.
Heat exhaustion and heat-related illnesses can be avoided by taking any of these preventive steps when temperature is high :
Heat exhaustion refers to one part of an ailment group known as heat-related illnesses . This illness spectrum starts with heat cramps, before progression to heat exhaustion and heat stroke at the last. The natural cooling system of the body involves sweating but this can only be when there is enough fluid in the body for sweat production, circulation of air over the skin, and low air humidity which can allow sweat to evaporate.
With activities in a hot environment, the body becomes overwhelmed losing the innate ability to cool itself. This triggers heat-related symptoms.
Heat exhaustion is a condition known for the heavy sweating and rapid pulse that comes with it. It is often as a result of the body overheating. It is among the three heat-related syndromes with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe of the lot.
The main cause of heat exhaustion is exposure to high temperatures especially in combination with high humidity and strenuous physical activity. When treatment is not sought, heat exhaustion may lead to heatstroke which is a life-threatening condition. Heat exhaustion is preventable though.