Heat Emergencies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

22 Jul 2022

Heat emergencies are serious and require urgent medical intervention. Memorial Village Emergency Room offers the best emergency room in Houston, TX. They have 24 hr immediate care, guaranteeing you treatment at all times.

If you stay in regions that experience hot climates or participate in summertime sports, you should be aware of the symptoms leading to a heat emergency. Walk into an ER facility near you and get urgent treatment. Early treatment helps prevent it from causing a heat stroke.

Causes of Heat Emergencies

There are no definite causes of heat emergencies. However, certain conditions cause heat conditions. They include exercising excessively in hot weather and staying confined in a place that heats up intensely, such as a vehicle.

Similarly, other risk factors increase the chances of getting heat emergencies. They include children, overweight persons, older people, and drunkards. These factors cause heat emergencies because they cause difficulties in regulating the internal body temperature.

Some medications are also responsible for heat emergencies due to their capacity to impair the body’s temperature control mechanisms. They include medication for psychiatric conditions such as tranquilizers and antipsychotic conditions.

Major Causes of Heat Emergencies and their Symptoms

  • Heat rash

A heat rash is a large area with numerous tiny pimples. They resemble the rash you get when exposed to extreme cold. A heat rash results from extreme sweat getting trapped underneath your skin and blocking the sweat glands. Symptoms of a heat rash include itchy skin, red skin, and small blisters, especially where your skin touches another part of your skin, such as the neck, armpits, under the breasts(women), and the groin region. Also, you experience small bumps that remain moist in the regions that sweat most, such as the armpits and the upper chest.

  • Heat cramps

Heat cramps are the build-ups to a heat emergency. They tend to occur when you become physically active under intense heat. However, they can still occur without being active. They are mostly experienced by children, older people, overweight persons, and persons who overindulge in alcohol.

When experiencing heat cramps, you experience muscle cramps (arms, legs, or core) and sweating. Other signs of heat cramps include nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, weakness, and headache. In some individuals, a fever develops, making the situation a medical emergency.

  • Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when you spend a lot of time in places with high temperatures while at the same time not receiving enough fluids. It’s worth noting that, unlike heat stroke, heat exhaustion does not alter your mental status. Heat exhaustion symptoms include headaches, muscle cramps, irritability, pale skin, fainting, heavy sweating, faster heartbeat, mild confusion, dizziness, and nausea.

  • Heat stroke

A heat stroke results from a rapid increase in core temperatures due to high heat and humidity. Symptoms of heat stroke include muscle twitching, rapid, strong pulse, hot, dry, red skin, seizures, hyperventilation, no sweating irrespective of the high heat, slurred speech, agitation, confusion, dizziness, altered mental state, fainting, and loss of consciousness. Heat stroke is a critical heat emergency because it often leads to organ failure and, in some cases, death.

Treatment of Heat Emergencies

The first step in treating hat emergencies includes raising the alarm once you or another person is experiencing a heat emergency. Call 911 or walk to an ER near you, particularly if the heat emergency is causing you or the affected person to vomit, become unconscious, and have seizures. Avoid drinking or eating any foods in a heat emergency if the affected person is vomiting and unconscious. Also, avoid any drink with caffeine or alcohol.

Home remedies can relieve heat rash and cramps, while heat stroke requires immediate medical intervention. When taken to the doctor early, treatment for heat emergencies is relatively easy. Doctors may offer simple treatments such as hydration, rest, and controlled stretching.

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