Preventing heat exhaustion at summer camp

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s mid-July and many Utah youth are heading out for summer camp. The great outdoors, sun, heat and little water are the perfect recipes for heat exhaustion. 

WebMD defines heat exhaustion as an illness that can occur after spending hours exposed to hot temperatures and is accompanied by dehydration. 

There are two types of heat exhaustion: 

  • Water Depletion: 
    • Thirst, weakness, headache and often times loss of consciousness
  • Salt Depletion:  
    • Nausea and vomiting, muscle cramping and dizziness

Dr. Mark Shah with Intermountain Medical Center says most cases of heat exhaustion can be treated alone or with the help of another person, and seeking help from a medical professional is not necessary.

What’s the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke? Heat exhaustion isn’t as serious as heat stroke but isn’t anything that should be taken lightly.

Untreated heat exhaustion can turn into heatstroke, which can damage your brain, organs and even cause death.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Profuse sweating

How to treat heat exhaustion:

  • Drink, water, sports drinks to replenish lost salt (avoid caffeine)
  • Remove any tight and unnecessary clothing
  • Take a cool shower
  • Use ice, cool towels and take other cooling measures if available

If you are unable to cool yourself down with these tips medical professionals advise seeking emergency help in efforts to prevent heatstroke.

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