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Don’t just worry about heat strokes. Worry about heat cramps and exhaustion, too

Don’t just worry about heat strokes. Worry about heat cramps and exhaustion, too

  • Summer is getting dangerously hot. Watch out for these symptoms if you want to avoid a spontaneous trip to the emergency room

The heat isn’t just awful, oppressive, annoying, and exhausting—it’s also dangerous. Every time summer rolls around, it feels like the temperatures are rising and things are just getting worse. Some areas have recorded temperatures up to 42°C, which is a full seven degrees hotter than what some researchers say is the limit of an average human being. 

Are we living in a city-sized air fryer? Most likely Photo by Arto Marttinen on Unsplash

Humans are usually adept at regulating our own body temperature; typically sweating out higher temperatures to combat the heat. But extreme heat can pose a threat to our internal thermal balance. If our bodies aren’t able to cool down quickly enough, it can negatively affect our cognitive abilities among other things.

Many of us are worried about getting heat strokes in this unfriendly climate, but that’s not the only danger we should be worried about. There are three major types of heat-related illnesses we should be worried about: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. 

Here are some signs and symptoms you should watch out for while we’re all stuck in this insane summer heat. 

Heat cramps

The people who usually experience heat cramps are athletes and fitness enthusiasts, but even standing outside in this heat can make it feel like you’ve run a marathon. Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that happen during physical activities (which can include just existing these days). 

Be extra careful when exercising when the temperatures are high. Photo by Shashank Shekhar on Unsplash

The biggest sign of heat cramps is usually cramping of the legs, arms, or back—but it isn’t exclusive to these muscle groups. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to cool down as quickly as you can, get some rest, and gently massage any of the painful areas. 

Drinking water and electrolyte-rich beverages can also help alleviate the symptoms and prevent you from getting dehydrated, which will only make things worse. 

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the result of dehydration. It’s when you sweat excessively to the point where your body no longer has enough salt and water to function properly. Typical symptoms include muscle cramps, pale, clammy skin, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, weakness in the body, feeling anxious or faint, and a fever. 

Water should be your best friend this summer. Photo by Chris Ralston on Unsplash

The best way to treat heat exhaustion is by escaping the heat, removing unnecessary items of clothing, and drinking electrolyte-rich drinks with some sugar in it. Cool towels and fanning can also help to bring down body temperature. 

Left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into a heat stroke. So if none of the at-home treatments work, it’s best to head to the emergency room. 

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is the most dangerous heat-related illness out of the three. It happens when your body gets too hot and can no longer regulate its temperature. It’s a serious matter that can sometimes lead to death. 

Warm skin, a high fever, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, agitation, lethargy, headache, fatigue, and a loss of appetite are some of the most common symptoms. If a heat stroke goes unnoticed, it can lead to seizures, a coma, or a headstone. 

The best way to treat a heat stroke is to rush to the emergency room, but keeping the person cool with cold towels, ice (specifically on the armpit and groin regions), and removing excess clothing can increase their chances of survival. 

This summer’s heat is no joke. Always keep alert and make sure to take care of yourself and the people around you. 

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