(WWLP) - The terms "heat exhaustion" and "heat stroke" are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. While both are caused by being exposed to extreme heat- the consequences of the much more serious heat stroke can be deadly.
Here are the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other types of heat stress, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
HEAT CRAMPS : Painful cramps caused by low salt levels in the body due to excessive sweating.
- Muscle pain or spasms; usually in the arms, legs, or abdomen.
First aid for heat cramps:
- Stop all activity, and sit in a cool place
- Drink clear juice or a sports drink
- Avoid physical activity for a few hours after the cramps subside
- Seek medical attention if the sick has heart problems, is on a low-sodium diet, or the cramps do not subside in an hour's time.
HEAT SYNCOPE : A heat-related fainting episode, usually due to prolonged standing or sudden rising from a sitting or lying position.
- Light headedness
First aid for heat syncope:
- Sit or lie down in a cool place when symptoms arise
- Slowly drink water, clear juice, or a sports drink.
HEAT EXHAUSTION : The body's response to losing excessive amounts of water and salt.
Symptoms include: Heavy sweating, dizziness, muscle cramps, change in complexion, nausea, clammy skin, higher body temperature, fast and shallow breathing.
First aid for heat exhaustion:
- Have the sick rest in an area that is cool, shaded, or air conditioned
- Have them drink plenty of water
- Have them take a cool shower or sponge bath
HEAT STROKE : When the body is unable to cool down; under heat stroke, body temperature can reach 106 degrees or higher within minutes. Can cause death or permanent disability.
- Profuse sweating or hot, dry skin
- High body temperature
- Slurred speech
- Throbbing headache.
First aid for heat stroke:
- Call 9-1-1 immediately
- Be sure that the sick is placed in a cool area
- Cool the sick by soaking their clothes with water or fanning their body.
For more information on heat stress, log on to the CDC's website at www.cdc.gov.