Friday, June 29, 2012

Risk of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
as Texas Temperatures Soar
by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

Texas is in a heat wave and working on your classic car or truck project can be dangerous. With temperatures in the triple digits all week, it is no wonder that many are wisely staying indoors. But, there are always those who underestimate the affects that this type of heat can have on your body, and how quickly innocent seeming symptoms can turn deadly!

Guy Algar of Motorheads Performance says, "We're accustomed to working outdoors and without A/C in the shop, even in 100 degree weather. But we're also acutely aware of the dangers and take precautions each and every day, including protection from heat and sun and drinking a lot of water and drinks containing electrolytes." Motorheads send this caution to those who don't spend so much time outside, or go back and forth between air conditioning and short stays outside. Heat exhaustion can set in unexpectedly, and heat stroke (sometimes called sunstroke) can quickly follow if the symptoms of heat exhaustion are ignored. We offer the following information on the dangers of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke so you can quickly recognize the symptoms. The information here is not a substitute for medical advise. We urge you to contact your physican and or emergency services or 911 if you suspect you are having symptoms and take action quickly.

Heat Exhaustion - Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion is usually brought on when people who are not well adjusted to heat go outside and work in a hot or extremely humid environment. When temperatures are high outdoors, the human body cools itself mostly through evaporation of sweat. When conditions are hot and humid, the sweat-evaporation process does not work properly. Your body experiences loss of fluids and important salts or electrolytes. When these are not replaced, or not replaced in sufficient quantities, your body experiences symptoms that can resemble mild forms of shock.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion can include:
  • Moist skin which is often paler than normal and cool to the touch
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Muscle cramps or pains
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Unquenchable Thirst
  • Nausea
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Core temperature 100 F or more (most accurate taken rectally)
Heat stroke can develop rapidly if you do not take care of heat exhaustion symptoms. One of the easiest forms to recognize occurs in people whose cooling mechanisms may already be impaired, such as those that suffer from medical conditions which predispose them to the symptoms.You may already be sensitive to slight shifts in temperature, or have problems with sweating. The most dangerous form occurs in people who are considered healthy, but may be engaged in strenuous activities in the heat, because it is unexpected and symptoms can escalate very quickly.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke can include one or more of these:
  • Previously moist skin becomes hot and DRY, even under armpits
  • Skin appears flushed (red or dark pink)
  • Blood pressure elevates, then may suddenly fall later
  • Hyperventilation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Unconscious
  • Abnormal mental status (dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, even coma)
  • Rectal temperature of 105 F or more
What to do for Heat Exhaustion?

 At the first signs of heat exhaustion, you need to lower the body temperature, rehydrate and rest. Get out of the heat and take steps to reduce the person's body temperature. Use a fan, get into A/C, hose down with a garden hose, cool shower or bath. Drink cool water or Gatorade or anything but alcohol! Alcohol will only dehydrate the person more. Avoid further activity and rest until feeling better. Call your doctor if these immediate remedies do not work, or if symptoms get worse.

What to do for Heat Stroke?

 If you suspect Heat Stroke call 911 IMMEDIATELY. People die of heat stroke. It should be taken very seriously.

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