RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Heat exhaustion can have serious implications if gone untreated or unnoticed.
Heat exhaustion happens when you endure high temperatures and/or humidity causing heavy sweating, high heart rate, nausea, dizziness and even headaches.
Heat exhaustion is one of three heat-related syndromes with heat cramps and heatstroke being the other two. Heat exhaustion is sandwiched between those two with heat cramps being on the lower end of the spectrum and heatstroke being the most serious of the three.
If heat exhaustion is untreated it can escalate to a heat stroke. Heatstroke can cause permanent damage to vital organs that can lead to death.
Heatstroke occurs when your core body temperature reaches 104 degrees. During the summer this can happen due to high temperatures and high humidity. It is always a good idea to keep an eye out for summertime temperatures and how long you’ve been outdoors.
Signs that you should look out for to indicate some form of heat exhaustion are nausea, dizziness, fatigue, dehydration and/or confusion. Symptoms may last for 30 minutes after being treated but recovery may last up to 24 or 48 hours.
When you may be experiencing any symptoms of heat exhaustion it is important to seek out a cool area whether that happens to be a shaded area, air conditioning, a fan or anywhere where you will be able to cool down. Also make sure to drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, as you treat these symptoms and give yourself time to recover.
If you happen to be outside for long durations of time make sure to always bring plenty of fluids with you. It’s important to stay hydrated so you also do not suffer from dehydration or further contribute to heat exhaustion.
Everyone may have different temperatures in which they are able to operate, so it is imperative to listen to your body.
In Virginia, we are no strangers to humidity especially in the summer, so typically if the temperature is 90 degrees or hotter, you can expect our heat index to be high.
The heat index is the “feels like” temperature outdoors is when you factor in humidity. If the temperature reads 93 degrees then, for example, with humidity the “feels like” temperature could be 101 degrees.