If you travel, chances are you've at least seen heat exhaustion close up. It strikes when you'reexposed to heat for too long and you don't drink enough water.
This can happen if you're hiking or trekking or on a long and dusty bus journey or simply sitting in the sun. It can even happen if you're walking around downtown Bangkok on an April afternoon, when the city heat can almost crush you.
In case that's not enough - humidity makes heat conditions even worse.
According to medical specialists, here's what it looks like: heavy sweating and clammy skin, heavier pulse rate and faster breathing than usual, weakness, dizziness and nausea, fever, muscle cramps...
Too much heat can also provoke other conditions, especially if you're older or already suffer from other illnesses, like high blood pressure. So if you're in anything less than perfect health and are thinking of being active in hot weather, please be extra careful.
If you suspect you're suffering from heat exhaustion, treat yourself, fast - because untreated, it can lead to an even more serious condition, heatstroke. But more on that shortly.
HRemember, I'm not a medical doctor so please, please check with the professionals. My goal is to alert you to the dangers and possible solutions you may run into as you travel, not to offer medical advice.
Here are some actions that doctors recommend when suffering from heat exhaustion:
And rest, rest, rest.
If heat exhaustion doesn't disappear - or at least lessen significantly - after a an hour, get to a doctor: you might have heatstroke.
Heatstroke is often heat exhaustion gone wrong. It needs to be dealt with as a life-threatening emergency, because it can kill you or disable you permanently if it lasts too long. It is caused by the body's failure to regulate its temperature normally.
The most important thing you can do about heatstroke is avoid it.
When heat exhaustion strikes, deal with it immediately: don't let it turn into heatstroke, because that could kill you.
While you may have taken proper precautions, your traveling companions might not have. They may need your help.
Here are some of the symptoms that signal heatstroke:
The absolute first thing to do is get emergency medical care. If you have a cell phone, call an ambulance or the emergency assistance number and let them know where the emergency is taking place. Time is of the essence. In the meantime, the heatstroke victim urgently needs to cool down. Get him or her into a tub of cool (not cold - the thermal shock could be deadly) water, wrap them in a wet sheet - do whatever you have to to bring their temperature down while waiting for a doctor.