Rising temperatures can cause serious problems, and things can escalate quickly. With temperatures rising, it’s important to stay hydrated, keep cool and avoid strenuous activities. Here are 4 common heat-related illnesses we see when the temperature creeps up.
Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions or spasms that occur during or after intense physical activity in hot conditions. They are often experienced in the legs, arms, or abdomen and may be accompanied by heavy sweating.
Resting in a cool place, drinking water or sports drinks containing electrolytes, and gently stretching or massaging the affected muscles can help alleviate heat cramps. It’s important not to return to physical activity too soon and to seek medical attention if cramps persist or worsen.
Heat rash is a skin condition that occurs when sweat ducts become blocked, leading to red or pink bumps, itching and discomfort. It often develops in areas of the body covered by clothing, such as the chest, back or groin.
The best approach for heat rash is to keep the affected area cool and dry. Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing, and avoid applying creams or ointments that may block sweat ducts. Cool showers or baths can provide relief, and over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion may help reduce itching.
Heat exhaustion happens when the body becomes dehydrated and loses essential electrolytes through excessive sweating. Symptoms include excessive sweating, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and a rapid heartbeat. It can turn into heatstroke if not addressed right away. The main treatment is to cool down and drink plenty of fluids. You can apply cool, wet towels to the skin or taking a cool shower can help lower body temperature.
Heatstroke is a severe and life-threatening condition characterized by a body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher. It can be caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures or strenuous physical activity in hot environments. Symptoms include a high body temperature, altered mental state or confusion, dizziness, nausea, rapid breathing, a rapid heartbeat, and potentially loss of consciousness.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and immediate medical attention is necessary. While waiting for medical help, move the person to a cool area, remove excess clothing, and attempt to lower body temperature by applying cool water or ice packs to the body.
Prevention is key in managing heat-related illnesses. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water, before, during, and after physical activity. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing and use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Take breaks in shaded or cool areas, and avoid prolonged exposure to hot environments. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our urgent care if you are feeling the heat!