Treasure Valley Heats Up; How to tell the Difference Between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
June may have seemed unseasonably cool in the Treasure Valley, but as July rolls forward things are heating up!
When I left the office on Thursday, I had every intention of going for a three mile run just to loosen up my legs from the 10K I ran in Melba on the 4th and get them feeling good for the Fit for Life Half Marathon on Saturday. But as soon as I walked outside, I realized that going to that run wasn't a safe idea. We found out the hard way when I passed out during a race that my body really struggles to function properly in hot temperatures and I'm very prone to heat related illness. I was diagnosed with heat exhaustion. It took an IV and days of rest for me to bounce back from that. That particular incident was 15 years ago, but I've gone down with heat exhaustion a handful of times since then.
According to the CDC, an average of 618 people die every year from heat related illness. With highs in the upper 90s this weekend, it's a good time to review the differences between heat exhaustion (which you can often treat yourself) and heat stroke (which is a medical emergency.) Here are some red flags you need to look out for if you start feeling yucky or if you notice your child, who's been playing outside, starts to act a little strange.
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Excessive sweating
- Cool, pale, clammy skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid, weak pulse
- Muscle Cramps
- Excessive thirst
- Throbbing headache
- No sweating
- Body temperature above 103º
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid, strong pulse
- May lose consciousness
According to Beaumont Health, this is how you should proceed if you or your child are exhibiting the symptoms mentioned above.
Heat Exhaustion Treatment
- Hydrate with water or sports drinks (I actually drink Pedialyte to help replace electrolytes because it's less sugary than sports drinks)
- Lie down in a cooler, air-conditioned place
- Take a cool shower or use cold compress
- Remove tight layers of clothing
- If vomiting continues, seek medical attention
- Treat ASAP; Left untreated heat exhaustion can become heat stroke
Heat Stroke Treatment
- Call 911 or proceed to the ER; heat stroke is a medical emergency
- Move patient to cooler temperature until help arrives
- Use cold compress to reduce body temp
Read over those a few times and bookmark this article if you're going to be outside this weekend enjoying Eagle Fun Days, a Boise Hawks Game or floating the river!