Young Children under 4 and adults over 65 are especially vulnerable to heat exhaustion. Avoid heat exhaustion this summer with a Renown doctor’s expert tips.
Northern Nevada summers can be downright hot, and although the balmy temperatures can feel great, they may cause heat-related illness, also known as heat exhaustion.
Infants and children under 4 and adults over 65 are particularly vulnerable to heat exhaustion because their bodies adjust to heat more slowly.
“As we age, we don’t have strong defenses to protect against heat and dehydration,” says William Craig, MD, of Renown Medical Group. “Also, common medications taken by older people impair the cardiovascular system’s response to fluid loss.”
The Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion
- Heavy sweating
- Elevation of body temperature
- Muscle cramps
- Tiredness, weakness, dizziness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cool and moist skin
- Fast and weak pulse
- Fast and shallow breathing
Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which can damage the brain and other vital organs and even cause death. Heat stroke happens when the body’s temperature rises rapidly and the body loses its ability to sweat.
The Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Body temperatures rising to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes
- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
- Dizziness or nausea
Prevention and Treatment
- Make sure your air conditioner works
- Stay indoors and drink plenty of fluids
- Limit strenuous outdoor activities to mornings and evenings
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Do outdoor activities in the shade and wear light, loose clothing
- Take plenty of breaks and drape a wet bandanna around your shoulders to cool down
If you suspect you or someone else is headed toward heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 immediately.