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Heat Stroke vs Heat Exhaustion

 
Date Posted: June 29, 2016
 

 
 
 

Summer is upon us and with it, sunny days spent outside enjoying the weather. Because the warm weather is so short lived in so many parts of Canada, it’s easy to forget that extreme heat can be just as dangerous as extreme cold. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real risks when the temperature starts to soar but do you know the difference between the two? Knowing these simple symptoms can help you and your family stay safe this summer when the sun is blazing.

Heat Exhaustion

This occurs when you become overheated and your body begins to lose fluids and salt, making you dehydrated.  You should still be sweating, but will be feeling generally unwell with the following symptoms:

Dehydration, excessive thirst

Fatigue

Weakness

Excessive sweating but cold, clammy skin

Headache

Nausea/vomiting

Muscle aches and cramps

Irritability

Treatment: Get inside, out of the sun and into a cool location. Remove any unnecessary clothing and drink fluids. Cool the skin with cool cloths or a fan to help absorb sweat.

Heat Stroke

The term heat stroke is often tossed around when we get overheated but in reality is a very serious condition that usually necessitates a call to 911 or a trip to the hospital. Heat stroke is when your body loses the ability to cool itself, allowing your core temperature to skyrocket to unsafe levels. It can strain the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and brain and can be life-threatening if not caught on time. It can occur without experiencing heat stroke first, so if a sudden onset of symptoms occurs, call 911.

Flushed, hot, dry skin

No sweating

Body temperature of 105 or higher

Rapid heart rate

Shortness of breath

Decreased urination

Severe, throbbing headache

Weakness, dizziness, or confusion

Seizure or convulsions

Decreased responsiveness

Loss of consciousness

Treatment: Call 911 and begin the same treatment as you would with heat exhaustion until the ambulance arrives. 

 

 

 
 
 

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