Jul 29, 2015
Avoiding Exertional Heat Illnesses

This article fromTraining & Conditioning looks at definitions of exertional heat illnesses and methods for avoiding and treating them. The article is part of T&C’s “Digital Guide to Heat Stress Prevention,” an interactive important information about heat stress illnesses, risks and prevention, which also contains information about leading heat stress prevention companies.

Exertional heat illnesses (EHI) include:

Heat syncope: A mild form of EHI that occurs when an individual loses consciousness while in a hot environment. This often occurs when standing up rapidly from a seated or lying position and blood flow to the brain becomes less than adequate. Proper hydration or heat acclimatization, described in detail below, can help to prevent episodes of heat syncope.

Heat cramps: Painful involuntary cramping in which muscle contractions can be felt, most often in the legs, arms, or abdomen. Heat cramps are treated with rehydration, stretching, and rest. Ways to help prevent heat cramps include proper hydration and electrolyte balance, as well as heat acclimatization.

Heat exhaustion: Defined as the inability to continue exercise in the heat due to cardiovascular insufficiency and energy depletion. This is the most common form of EHI seen in active populations and may result in physical collapse. Ways to prevent heat exhaustion include heat acclimatization, proper hydration, and adequate work-to-rest rations, as described below.

Exertional heat stroke: Defined as a core body temperature greater than 40°C with central nervous system dysfunction. EHS is the most severe form of EHI and can be life-threatening if proper precautions are not taken. EHS is also 100% survivable if treated appropriately.

The following brief animated video describes the recognition and treatment of EHS in greater detail. Included are the physiological effects causing EHS, signs and symptoms often experienced, and the best treatment strategy.

Click the icon below to o view the complete interactive “Guide to Heat Illness Prevention.”

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