What's it like: To be treated for heat exhaustion

Summer in Oklahoma means increasing chance of heat-related illness.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: June 23, 2013

It's about that time when Oklahoma starts making records for “most 100-degree days in a row.” Meaning, it's time for a reminder about what can happen if you let yourself get too hot while outside.

Your body normally cools itself by sweating, but during hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn't enough. Your body's temperature can rise to dangerous levels, and you can develop a heat illness.

When should you see a doctor?

Heat-related illnesses include heatstroke, a life-threatening illness in which your body's temperature can rise higher than 106 degrees; heat exhaustion, which can occur before a heatstroke; heat cramps; and heat rash.

Many people who develop a heat-related illness go outside without realizing how hot it is. And often, they forget to take into consideration the impact of the humidity.

But you don't have to be outside and in the sun to suffer from heat exhaustion.

For example, people working in their garages this summer should keep in mind that they're at risk, too.

What happens during treatment?

Symptoms of heat-related illnesses include red, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, muscle pains during heavy exercise or skin irritation from excessive sweating. These are all warnings signs of a heat-related illness that could become serious quickly.

A person suffering from a heat-related illness should lay down and start trying to cool off.

If they're not capable of drinking cool fluids, then it's important to get the person in the shade or in air conditioning.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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