Updated: Apr 20
A hot day at the zoo, stuck in traffic and the air-conditioning stops working, playing sports in the hot sun; there are lots of ways to overheat yourself, and without proper hydration and care, you could be in big trouble.
What is it then?
Hyperthermia, also referred to as “heat stroke”, is when your body can’t dissipate heat from your body as fast as is necessary to maintain a stable core temperature. Normally the body uses mechanisms like sweating, breathing and increased blood flow to shed excess heat; during hyperthermia however, these processes can’t keep up with the heat.
Aside from the obvious bad news of a higher core temperature cooking your organs and brain; the real problem with hyperthermia comes from dehydration, as your body desperately tries to sweat the heat.
How bad is it?
It can be really bad if you don’t treat it in any way. Luckily under normal circumstances this is an easy bit of damage to treat. Rehydrate, sit in the shade or near some air-conditioning and simply rest for a bit.
The links below go into more detail on the ranges of signs and symptoms, but the first ones are excessive sweating, intense thirst and mild headache. A glass of water and a sit in the shade should fix this easily.
Can I prevent it?
Planning and again, staying aware of your surroundings will go a long way to preventing this damage. Also, a hat and a cold drink, maybe a lawn chair and an umbrella. At its most basic, drink lots of water and stay out of direct heat if you can.
What if it happens to me?
I mentioned a few things above like shade and a cold drink, but here are some more things to try:
- Sitting in front of a fan or air-conditioning
- Take off clothes to comfort and appropriate levels
- Cool water or cloth on bare skin
- If vomiting happens… go right to a hospital, no waiting!
Will I be okay?
Of course, you will. But, like with anything, if you are concerned or just plain aren’t an expert on injuries and First Aid matters, find some training that will teach you proper methods of dealing with this injury or make a clinic visit or doctor’s appointment to get your damage checked out.