The summer months are upon us now. The temperatures are rising and doctors need to be ready. People still have to work and do their regular activities. Sometimes that involves working outdoors. It is important to remember to stay hydrated and take more breaks in the shade. Medical attention should be taken when a person is feeling lightheaded, confused, or is fainting. Doctors should be aware of the most common illness related to the heat and keep the medical supplies in their office or examination room.
Heat stroke is typically the most serious illness. It happens when a person is unable to control their body temperature. As the body’s temperature rises, a person may not sweat and thus the body can’t cool itself down. Within a short period of time, the body temperature can rise to 105 degrees or higher. Heat stroke can lead to death if not treated.
Heat exhaustion is a milder illness. It occurs usually after several days of being in high temperatures and not taking in enough fluids. This usually occurs in elderly people.
Heat cramps are heat-related muscle pains that typically occur in the abdomen, arms and legs. People who work out in the heat are more susceptible to heat cramps, which may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Heat rash is a skin irritation that is caused by excessive sweating due to hot weather. It can happen at any age, but mostly in young children.