Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two examples of what are referred to as ‘heat-related illnesses. Both emergencies can occur when working or doing physical activities in hot weather. It’s essential to recognise the signs and symptoms of these conditions, so we can take the necessary steps to stay cool and hydrated. This post will discuss the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and how to prevent them.
Every year, more than 500 people nationwide pass away from heat exhaustion, according to the Australian Medical Association. The elderly, the very young, and anyone under 75 is most in danger from the scorching heat.
Heat exhaustion leading to heatstroke is an emergency case. Enrol in a first aid course at Level 1/174 Gilles St, Adelaide 5000 with CPR First Aid to better equip yourself or your staff in the workplace. We have training locations all across Australia near you.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
It is the body’s reaction to an excessive loss of water and salt, typically through excessive perspiration. Heat exhaustion results when your body’s temperature gets too high, and it cannot lower it on its own. The body can become overheated when engaging in physical activity, particularly in warm, muggy conditions. Usually, perspiration serves as a natural air conditioner for your body, cooling your skin while it does so.
Who is Susceptible to Heat-Related Illnesses?
Watch out for young children, the elderly, and those with chronic health issues such as diabetes or heart issues since they are more susceptible to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Although this can happen to anyone, below are some groups of people most likely to be impacted by this condition:
- Older people
- High blood pressure sufferers
- Those who are engaged in hot weather labour
Risk Factors of Heat Exhaustion
Common risk factors that can lead to heat-related illnesses are as follows:
The likelihood of developing heat exhaustion is increased in older adults and youngsters. People over 65 and young children have more difficulty controlling their body temperature. Additionally, they are more prone to dehydration because their bodies don’t obtain enough fluids.
Drinking too much alcohol might lead to dehydration. Heat exhaustion risk is increased by dehydration. Alcohol also impairs your ability to regulate body temperature.
You run an increased risk of heart sickness if you exercise in a hot, muggy atmosphere. If you are using bulky clothes or equipment, the risk rises. Heat fatigue is more likely to occur in individuals who aren’t used to working in hot environments.
Some prescription medications include side effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration, resulting in heat exhaustion. Here are a couple of examples of medication that increases the risk of heat exhaustion.
Diuretics or water tablets
Diuretics make people urinate more frequently than usual, which lowers the body’s potassium levels. Potassium is essential for proper muscle function involved in breathing and heartbeat. When it is hot outside, these lower levels can become more harmful since patients frequently lose more potassium through sweating.
Beta-blockers can lower blood pressure, decrease blood flow to the skin, and slow your heartbeat. When this occurs, the body finds it more difficult to expel heat from the skin.
Weight and Overall Health
Those who are overweight are more likely to have heat exhaustion: obesity, and specific health issues e.g., diabetes and heart disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion symptoms can emerge abruptly or gradually. You may experience heat cramps or a red rash (heat rash) before the onset of symptoms. Any muscle can experience these excruciating cramps, but the arms or legs are where they typically occur.
When the body is unable to regulate its temperature, the individual may experience the following:
- craving for water
- heavy perspiration
- high body temperature
- reduced urine production
- when it’s hot, you get goosebumps on cool, damp skin.
- weak, fast heartbeat
- orthostatic hypotension
- muscle pain
Heat Exhaustion First Aid
Follow these steps to treat a worker who has heat exhaustion:
- Transport the employee to a health centre or emergency room for a diagnosis and treatment.
- If medical assistance is not accessible, call triple zero (000).
- As soon as assistance arrives, have someone stay with the worker.
- Give the worker some beverages to drink and remove them from the hot location.
- Take off all extra clothing, including socks and shoes.
- Use a cold compress to relieve the worker’s discomfort, or have them wash their face, neck, and head with cold water.
- Encourage drinking lots of chilled water.
Workplace First Aid Training Adelaide CBD
Applying first aid practices in the workplace can be highly beneficial for employees and employers. Employees can learn how to administer first aid in an accident or injury properly, and employers can create a safer workplace environment. To learn more about first aid courses in Adelaide, contact CPR First Aid.
How Do I Treat Heat Exhaustion?
Get somewhere cool as quickly as you can to calm down. Take a cool shower, seek shade, or relax inside a facility with air conditioning. You might also dampen a washcloth with cold water and apply it to your neck or forehead.
Sip on water or an electrolyte-containing sports drink. Avoid consuming too much water too fast, and sip water for around an hour. Stay away from alcohol and coffee.
Last but not least, avoid doing more exercise. Lie down and lift your feet a little in emergencies so the body may relax.
If you think you might need assistance, call your healthcare practitioner or doctor if symptoms don’t subside after roughly an hour of rest and water. Call 000.
Then, What is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke is the most dangerous heat-related illness. It happens when the body’s ability to regulate temperature is compromised. The body’s temperature increases quickly, the sweating mechanism malfunctions and the body cannot cool down. Within 10 to 15 minutes after the onset of heat stroke, the body temperature can reach 41°C or more.
When Does Heat Exhaustion Become a Heat Stroke?
Untreated heat stroke can result from heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is a severe and life-threatening condition. It can cause brain damage, organ failure, and death. Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. If it turns into a heatstroke, consider it an emergency. Symptoms of heatstroke include:
- feeling sick after 30 minutes of relaxing in a chilly environment
- not perspiring while being overheated
- extremely high body temperature
- rapid breathing or breathlessness
- being perplexed
- having a fit or seizure
- loss of consciousness – place the patient in the recovery position
First Aid for a Worker Suffering from a Heatstroke
The goal is to prevent aspiration and help keep the patient’s airway open. The far leg is bent at an angle while the patient is lying on one side. The far arm is crossed across the chest with the hand on the cheek. Aspiration must be avoided, and the patient’s airway should be kept as open as possible. Furthermore, be guided by these steps:
- Access urgent medical treatment for the patient, dial 000.
- Do not leave the patient alone until emergency medical help arrives,
- Move the patient to a cool, shaded place and have them take off their outerwear.
- Quickly cool the worker with the use of the following techniques:
- Dampen the skin with cold water or an ice bath. Use cold, damp cloths or ice on the head, neck, armpits, and groin.
- To hasten cooling, move the air around the worker.
- You can also immerse your garments in chilly water and use them again.
To prevent symptoms of heat-related conditions, some measures should be considered, like hydration, appropriate clothing, and break times. At 38 degrees centigrade, workers should not be working and exposed to the sun’s heat. People are informed that they have a legal right to do that. The famed Australian outdoor lifestyle may be in peril as increasingly intense heat may limit how much time individuals can spend outside comfortably.
For inquiries about our CPR and Adelaide first aid training, give us a call, and we’ll be happy to walk you through our courses and certification process.