Heat Related Illness

Heat Related Illness

Humans need sun exposure to survive. The sun provides humans with vital forms of Vitamin D and can be essential to emotional health and stability. Places such as Alaska that have long periods of the year with very little daylight have serious problems with suicide and cabin fever among their population. But as essential as the sun is to our continued health, not to mention fun, there are serious problems that can occur from continued sun exposure. The sun is a source of great heat and therefore a variety of heat related illnesses.

Types of Heat Related Illnesses

There is a full spectrum of heat related illness ranging from fairly innocuous rashes to deadly strokes. Anyone taking a trip out in the mid day sun should be aware of each of the possible heat conditions they may experience. It is essential to be able to be able to point out the signs of these illnesses in case they appear in friends, family or the individual. Heat conditions to be aware of include:

o Heat rash-this rash appears as many small bumps with the most exposure to the sun. It can be uncomfortable and often itches but has no known serious side effects. Generally, a little bit of Benadryl will make the rash disappear.

o Heat cramps-these occur in muscles after strenuous exercise in the sun because sweating results in the loss of water, salt and essential electrolytes to the body. Drinking liquid containing electrolytes such as Gatorade can help keep this problem at bay.

o Heat edema-edema is swelling within the skin. Heat edema usually occurs in the legs and hands just from sitting for long periods in the heat.

o Heat tetany-this is hyerperventilation and heat stress caused by periods of stress in a hot environment.

o Heat syncope-syncope is fainting. This occurs when a person sits up and the heat causes the blood vessels to dilate and body fluids move into the legs.

o Heat exhaustion-this is a mild form of hyperthermia. It occurs from strenuous exercise or work in intense heat. Signs include nausea, weakness, vomiting and loss of color.

o Heat stroke-this is the most severe form of hyperthermia from the sun. Heat stroke has similar symptoms as those of heat exhaustion but is much more severe and can lead to death if not swiftly treated.

Individuals experiencing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be immediately cooled down with a hose or whatever water is nearest by. This is essential to saving their lives. For more information on heat stroke, contact Des Moines area lawyers.…