What happens to the human body on extreme heat exposure?

Extreme heat exposure results in heat stroke.
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The prolonged exposure to heat seems to be very easily curable. However, in actual practice, extreme heat exposure can be lethal. The recent heatwave in Canada has smashed the temperature records. The unprecedented weather conditions led to the death of 120+ people in Canada. In this article, you’ll get to know all the details about heat-exposed disorders.

Heat Cramps

This is the most common, mild-heat related illness. Usually, during exercise, the body produces a lot of sweat. It involves painful muscular spasms. The heavy exercises when done in a hot environment contribute to it. Whereas electrolyte and fluid loss also result in it.

What to do?

  • Consult a doctor if the cramps get worsened after an hour
  • Rest
  • Intake fluid or electrolyte-containing drinks. Electrolyte sports drink balances the number of salts and electrolytes lost.
  • Avoid intake of alcohol and caffeine

Heat Stroke

Heatstroke is also known as sunstroke is the most severe heat exposed illness. When the body temperature increases and crosses 40 degrees Celsius it results in sunstroke. Hyperthermia leads to multi-organ dysfunction that leads to death. Severe dehydration also accompanies the disease.

Heat stroke prevention icons. All you need to do to prevent extreme heat exposure.
Heat stroke prevention icons. All you need to do to prevent extreme heat exposure.

Symptoms are pretty common that include dizziness, weakness, anorexia, dry and red coloured skin. Further, it is also accompanied by cramps in the body, high pulse rate, increased thirst and excessive sweating.

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What to do?

  • Increase fluid intake – plenty of fruits and vegetable juices will help you balance the lost nutrients in sweating
  • Wear very light clothes
  • Use cooling blankets
  • Take showers (use cold water)
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid going out in the sun
  • Move the patient to a cool place

Heat Rash

Excessive sweating in humid weather leads to the type of skin irritation called heat rash. It is the appearance of red coloured blisters or pimples that usually affect the elbow area, neck and upper chest areas.

Heat rashes on the skin of a baby. Blockage of sweat gland causes inflammation.
Heat rashes on the skin of a baby. Blockage of the sweat gland causes inflammation. For license details: Click here)

Mechanism – What actually happens is, the sweat glands are responsible to produce the sweat on skin surface. When these glands are blocked, the sweat remains within the glandular space. Hence, the blockage leads to inflammation.

The red bumps appear on skin that are itchy. They produce a prickly feeling.

What to do?

  • Use a non-drying soap while taking a bath
  • Don’t use any cream that further blocks the pores
  • Use a calamine lotion to decrease the itching
  • Avoid the use of a towel

Heat Exhaustion

Heavy sweating, fast pulse, nausea, muscle cramps and tiredness are the symptoms of exhaustion. Moreover, the body tries to cool itself down so hard that the sweating increases at an alarming rate and again excessive sweating leads to dehydration.

What to do?

  • Try to cool down
  • Use loose clothes
  • Increase water intake
Also read about the secrets of glowing skin here.

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