Heat illness is best understood in three separate degrees of severity: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and the most serious and deadly form, heat stroke. That is why it’s important to recognize the warning signs of dehydration and heat illness:
Lightheaded or Dizziness
Difficulty Paying Attention
- Stop activity
- Rest in a cool spot
- Replenish with fluids containing sodium
- light headedness
- rapid pulse
- Rest in a cool, shaded area and place ice cold towels on the body
- Drink a sports drink that contains the adequate amount of electrolytes
- Lie down with legs elevated to promote circulation
If dehydration goes untreated, the likelihood of heat exhaustion may increase. Eventually, fatigue and exhaustion will occur because you can no longer support physical exertion and core body temperature control at the same time.
- Very high core body temperature (104 or higher)
- Altered Central Nervous System function (i.e. confusion or unconsciousness, altered mental status, feeling out-of-sorts, extreme lethargy)
- Otherwise healthy individual collapses during intense exercise/activity in the heat.
- Cool first. Then transport to hospital.
- Immediate cool down by whatever means possible
- An ice bath in a “cool pool” is preferable due to the superior cooling rates
- Ice packs over as much of the body as possible
- A cool shower
- Cool, wet towels
- Water spray
- Transport a suspected heat stroke to the hospital
Do not drink fluids since nausea and vomiting are extremely common. Remove from cooling source when temperature is lowered to 102 degrees F.