Heat Exhaustion

Summer is here and so is the heat!  It is very common in hot, humid climates for people to become exhausted due to the heat and not recognize it.  Many people think they are immune to it.  You hear them say things like, “I’ve lived here all my life. I’m used to it”, “I drink lots of water” or “I have air conditioning and I don’t get over heated”.  But the fact is, any of us may suffer from heat exhaustion unless we take proper precautions.

There are a number of reasons heat exhaustion can occur such as:

            1. Working or playing outside, even when drinking water.  Be especially careful if you drink water and it doesn’t satisfy your thirst.

            2. Drinking coffee, tea or other caffeine products.  Caffeine is a natural diuretic.  Many people have the idea that since these are water-based products it is not necessary to drink more water.  That is not true.  In fact, if you drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks, you need to drink even MORE water to make up for the water being lost through the diuretic effect of the caffeine. 

            3. Being in air conditioning.  The way A/C works is to remove moisture from the air to make it feel cooler.  However, A/C will remove moisture from those living in it and not drinking enough water.

            4. Working in A/C and doing a lot of talking.  When we talk we naturally lose moisture so if your job requires a lot of talking, you need to drink more water.  This is especially true for sales people or lecturers.

            5. Flying.  The airline industry has a directive that pilots and flight attendants need to drink 8 ounces of water for every 1 hour in the air as it is well documented that flying dehydrates people.

Heat exhaustion can be a very subtle thing in its onset or very dramatic as it progresses toward the more dramatic heat stroke.

Here are a list of the signs and symptoms to watch out for, especially in the upcoming summer months here in Arkansas.

·         Pale skin

·         Flushed face like having just run a race

·         Dark circles under the eyes that weren’t there before

·         Profuse sweating, even when air is cool

·         Tacky feeling skin

·         Fatigue to the point of getting up in the morning but not feeling rested

·         Headaches

·         Nausea – flu like symptoms

·         Abdominal cramping, vomiting

·         Muscle cramps

·         Fainting or feeling faint

·         Dizziness

·         Mental exhaustion – confusion

·         Mis-emotion – weepy/griefy

·         Rapid heart rate – occasionally with mild chest discomfort

·         Sinus congestion

·         Dark colored urine – urine normally is a very pale yellow or clear.  Also, low urine output with strong odor with a feeling of urgency to urinate

HANDLING: Obviously, the best way to handle heat exhaustion is to prevent it by drinking plenty of water.  If you have gone too far and are experiencing some of the symptoms above, here is what you can do. 

Use sea salt or potassium tablets.  I recommend Himalayan Sea Salt as it is a natural sea salt has all 108 trace minerals.  Add ¼ teaspoon to 8 ounces of room temperature water.  (Cold water may trigger stomach cramping when symptoms of heat exhaustion are present.)  Drink often throughout the day. 

In the absence of sea salt and potassium tablets a person can make use of what they have.  Use table salt ¼ tablespoon in 4-6 ounces of warm water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Follow this with 6-8 ounces of more warm water.

By taking a few simple precautions, you can enjoy the summer and keep safe at the same time.  If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at the office.  We are here to help.