Heat Stroke Vs Heat Exhaustion
Having heat stroke vs heat exhaustion is the difference between an ambulance ride and a rectal thermometer, and a slushee in an air-conditioned movie theater. Although heat stroke is the worse of the two, heat exhaustion is no joke. Read on to learn the differences between heat stroke and heat exhaustion, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.
Heat exhaustion is caused by dehydration. You develop heat exhaustion over several days of continued overheating combined with a lack of water or salt. You know you have heat exhaustion when you suffer from a combination of symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, fainting, pale skin, profuse sweating, dark-colored urine, fatigue, or muscle cramps. Heat exhaustion can be treated by removing yourself from heat (duh), preferably relocating to an air conditioned environment, and rehydrating with water, sports drinks, or any non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverage. The two important steps are replacing electrolytes by rehydrating, and reducing your body temperature by moving into the coolest place you can. Loosening any clothing and putting wet towels or rags on your head won't hurt, either, unless you count your pride. It's very important to recognize and treat heat exhaustion early, because if it goes unchecked it can lead to...
Heat stroke! Heat stroke occurs when your body is no longer able to regulate its own temperature, as a result of advanced dehydration (read: heat exhaustion). Symptoms of heat stroke include extremely heavy sweating, a total lack of sweating despite high body temperature, a rectal temperature of 104 F or higher, seizures, unconsciousness, rapid heart rate, or difficulty breathing. If you or someone else experiences these symptoms, your first step should be to call 911 immediately. Treatment is similar to heat exhaustion, just with a higher level of intensity. Obviously, you want to move the victim into the coolest place possible. Remove as much clothing as possible (from the victim, you perv) and apply cool water to the victim's body. Do not use cold water, as this can induce shock. Apply ice packs under the armpits, behind the knees, along the neck and in the groin: all areas where large blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. Your goal is to lower the body temperature as much as possible while waiting for emergency services to arrive. If the victim is alert enough, you can give them small sips of water.