Finally the warmer weather has arrived. Hopefully it is here to stay for several months at least! We all react differently to the hot days of summer, but it's a statistical fact that hundreds of people die every year as a direct result of heat exhaustion.
Mostly, those deaths could have been avoided with a little know-how, either through prevention or a quick response.
Would you be able to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion -- in yourself or others -- and would you know how to deal with it?
The first signs may be heavy sweating, rapid pulse and cramps.
As the condition becomes more severe, the sufferer may feel chilled or have goosebumps on the skin. They may feel faint or dizzy, especially when quickly standing, sometimes nauseous, and have a headache.
According to the much-respected Mayo Clinic, anyone who suffers these symptoms should stop all physical activity, move to a cooler place and drink plenty of cool water or sports drinks. Clothing should be loosened or removed to speed up heat loss. A fan, even manual fanning, and a cool shower can help.
If symptoms worsen or don’t improve within an hour, the person should see a doctor. A sudden and severe deterioration, such as vomiting or loss of consciousness indicates heat stroke, a more severe condition that requires a 911 call.
You can avoid heat exhaustion by staying out of the sun when it's hot and humid, avoiding overdressing, strenuous activity and alcohol consumption when it's hot, and by drinking plenty of water.
To learn more about both heat stroke and heat exhaustion, check out this site at the government's Centers for Disease Control (CDC): http://tinyurl.com/heat-ex (http://tinyurl.com/heat-ex) .