Common heat-related illnesses and their symptoms

Common heat-related illnesses and symptoms

The temperature is making it really hard for many to continue their daily activities. The public is being warned about possible heatwaves in Pakistan on and off for the past few days. However, it is just the start of summer and with the extreme temperature, we all need to protect ourselves from heat-related illnesses.

Read about how to protect yourself from a heatwave, here.

Many people are aware of the common heat-related illnesses and their signs. We have shortlisted some for you so you know when to call for help if you experience any of these.

1- Heat cramps

These are considered the mildest form of heat illnesses. As the name indicates, one might experience painful muscle spasms and cramps in this condition. It can also occur during or after exercise.

Some common symptoms include excessive sweating during exercise and muscular pain.

If you experience this, make sure you stop the activity and let your body cool down. Moreover, consider drinking water and waiting for the pain to go away before starting a physical activity again.

Get medical help if:

  • The cramps don’t go away within 1 hour
  • You have heart problems
  • Your sodium intake in the diet is low

2- Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a much more severe condition compared to cramps. This condition can be a result of the loss of water and salts from the body. Heat exhaustion occurs when there is excessive sweating and loss of salts from the body without replacement. The body is usually unable to cool off and this might end up in heat stroke if not treated.

Some common symptoms of the condition include fainting, dizziness, headache, fast and weak pulse, muscle cramps, tiredness, cold and clammy skin, heavy sweating, and nausea or vomiting.

You should loosen your clothes or put wet clothes on your body. Keep a check on your hydration levels and take cool showers in this condition too.

Get medical help if:

  • Your symptoms don’t go away within 1 hour
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Symptoms get worse

3- Heat stroke

This is the most severe form of heat-related illness. It is life-threatening. The condition occurs when the body’s heat-regulating mechanism is unable to perform its function because of excessive external or environmental heat.

Common signs and symptoms include Hot, red, dry, or damp skin, confusion, nausea, vomiting, fast and strong pulse, headache, and a high body temperature.

In this condition, you need to call for medical help immediately. Moreover, it is recommended that one shouldn’t be given anything to drink. Give them a cool bath till you get medical help.

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