An exercise induced heat illness is a serious, and sometimes fatal, health risk which active people can experience while exercising during the warmer months of the year. Exercise heat induced illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, is a condition which manifests when the body’s thermoregulatory systems are unable to properly maintain its core temperature, causing it to rise above 37 degrees Celsius.
Keeping a constant body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius is vital. If you are exercising in warm and humid weather, make sure you can identify the early warning signs and symptoms of heat induced illnesses and to take proper steps to recognise, and more importantly, prevent its occurrence.
Heat exhaustion, one of the most common heat induced illnesses, is the body’s reaction to severe dehydration and an excessive loss of water and salt through sweat. Normally, the body cools itself by sending more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn, increases your body temperature. This mild elevation in body temperature is normally controlled by sweating which allows a person to cool through evaporation. Once a person becomes too dehydrated to sweat, the body is unable to cool, causing your core temperature to rise rapidly and dramatically. High humidity also prevents sweat from evaporating, again, not allowing a person to cool effectively and eventually resulting in heat exhaustion, and extreme cases, heat stroke.
Heat Exhaustion is likely to occur when a person’s body temperature rises above 37 degrees but below 40 degrees Celsius.
If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to circulatory collapse and heat stroke.
Heat Stoke is the most serious form of heat-induced illnesses, with a body temperature higher than 40 degrees Celsius.
To prevent heat-induced illness, be sure to hydrate, train, acclimatize and be aware of the ambient temperature.
If someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, you should:
1. Lie the casualty down
2. Loosen and remove excessive clothing
3. Moisten skin with a moist cloth/washer
4. If clothes are wet, replace with dry clothes
5. Cool by fanning and place wrapped ice packs to the neck, groin, and armpits
6. If the casualty if fully conscious, give them cool water to drink
If heat exhaustion develops into heat stroke, you should:
1. Call 000 and ask for an Ambulance
2. Follow DRSABCD
3. Moisten skin with wet cloth/washer and fan repeatedly.
4. Place wrapped ice packs to the neck, groin, and armpits
This article was kindly supplied by: Australia Wide First Aid
This article was research and created for the purpose of first aid information. All information read should not be used in place of advice from qualified health professionals.
1. Australia Wide First Aid Online Manual - https://www.australiawidefirstaid.com.au/files/AWFAmanual-ed1-website.pdf?utm_source=confirmation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=confirmation_email
2. Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048167
3. Better Health Channel - http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Heat_stress_and_sport_reducing_the_risks?open
4. The Sport Factory for Peak Performance - http://thesportfactory.com/site/trainingnews/Heat-Stress_Disorders_and_Exercise.shtml
5. About Health - http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/enviromentalissues/a/Heat-Exhaustion.htm