Heat illness occurs when the body overheats, much the way your car can overheat in hot weather. Normally, the body’s “coolant” system prevents overheating. As perspiration evaporates and blood vessels bring heat to the skin, the body cools and maintains a proper body temperature. When we are involved in outdoor activities in the heat, especially humid heat, our coolant system can become overloaded. When this happens, heart rate and body temperature rise and stress the body.
The hotter it gets, the more stress is placed on the body. The first signs of trouble can include fatigue, thirst, discomfort, and lightheadedness. This simple heat stress can quickly become heat exhaustion if early symptoms are ignored. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include a pale or flushed appearance, moist and clammy skin, weakness, dizziness, headache, and nausea. Untreated heat exhaustion can then become heat stroke. The heat stroke victim stops sweating and has hot, dry, reddish skin and a rapid pulse. They may be confused or delirious, may suffer convulsions, and may become unconscious.
The Center of Disease Control offers these tips for preventing heat-related illness:
The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.