With the arrival of summer, you’ll find yourself outside more often. While Pleasanton doesn’t get quite as hot as some places (we’re looking at you Arizona), we’re already seeing temperatures that reach the mid-90s. At home we’re protected from the high temperatures by air-conditioning, easy access to water, and plenty of shade. But when you’re outside, whether it’s a quick walk to the store or just a daily constitutional, you need to be mindful of just how hot the outdoors can be, and keep an eye out for heat exhaustion.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Exposure to high heat or extreme dehydration can lead to an over-heated state where the body’s internal temperature is high enough to cause physical damage and impair reasoning. It’s part of three different states:
- Heat Cramps
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Stroke
While these are simply different stages of a progressively worsening state (with heat stroke being a final and possibly fatal stage), it’s nothing to take lightly. Heat exhaustion comes in two different variants.
- Water Depletion: The body does not have enough water to help regulate temperature.
- Salt Depletion: salt content of the body is not high enough to allow for normal metabolic processes.
The goal in either case is to restore typical metabolic function and help the body cool off. Your body typically cools itself through sweating and evaporation. Just as a ceiling fan helps to improve cooling, air circulation, rest outside of direct sunlight, and replenishing lost salts and water will help your body to cool naturally. If nothing else, take a break inside an air-conditioned building until you cool off sufficiently.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
While we are in no way a medical professional we can share a few key symptoms of heat exhaustion. As always, if you’re concerned you may be showing signs, find a space to cool off immediately. Never leave children or pets in a closed car in hot weather either as it can cause heat exhaustion and stroke. Typical symptoms are:
- Pale skin
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Profuse Sweating
- Dark-colored urine
- Heightened Body temp (above 100 F, immediately see a doctor if 104 or higher)
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
On days of extreme heat, it’s possible to suffer from heat cramps and exhaustion even in your home if your air conditioner isn’t functioning properly. Remember to stay cool and hydrated when it’s hot and avoid going out during the hottest time of the day (between noon and 3:00 PM).