As the summer heat ramps up all over the U.S., Dr. David Claypool, an emergency medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic, tells us how to recognize when we are getting overheated before we get into trouble.
If you feel nauseated or weak, it's time to get out of the heat. If you feel chilly in the heat or you're getting goosebumps, those are all signs that you are overheating, and you need to get into a cool place.
Heat illnesses begin with cramping, then progresses to heat exhaustion. Tiredness, dizziness and fatigue are all signs of heat exhaustion. After that, heatstroke - indicated by that chilly feeling when you're actually really hot - can set in; the body is then no longer able to regulate temperature. Serious health problems can result from it, such as acute tissue injury, multi-organ failure and even death as cells in the body die because of the extreme temperature.
Air conditioning, fans, but especially misting, can help cool the body down. But sometimes, that doesn't improve the way we're feeling. If even after getting out of the heat and trying to cool down, people begin to have headaches or get confused, that is an indication that medical assistance is needed.
Dr. Claypool also reminds us to stay hydrated, and not to wait until after you've begun activity but instead, start out the day well hydrated, and continue to drink fluids as the day progresses.
Don't underestimate heat. Take it seriously, have a plan and avoid illness.