There are various types of heat illnesses. However, they all relate to the overheating of the body and most likely dehydration as well. For instance, heat exhaustion heat stroke is both different types of heat illnesses and they are related. Like many other people, I was curious about different types of heat illnesses after having a very frightening experience with heat exhaustion.
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Even though I had not done a great deal of research on heat exhaustion symptoms or heat stroke symptoms, I do know that being sensitive to the heat and the sun is something that kind of runs in our family. However, most often the tales of heat stroke or heat exhaustion were most commonly linked to the men in our family. Most often, these men in our family would be working outdoors on the farm or with some of the farm animals. Sometimes the stories linked to such heat illnesses would be experienced while the men might be sitting for hours on a hot boat while fishing. In the stories I have heard or been witness too, the men would have to be brought inside or brought home by someone who happened to be with them. Every time I ever heard any of the stories about these men in our family suffering from heat illnesses such as heat stroke. I had always heard the people talking about it saying something to the effect that many of the men folk in our family had a problem with overheating, but never did I hear or see any of the women getting ill from the sun or from heat being expressed in the same manner. Therefore, naturally I thought like most of the older people.
However, I did wonder about some of the things I would feel while being outdoors and in the sun. Since my coloring is very light and I burn very easily and quickly mother always kept me either inside the house or under shade trees to prevent the sun from burning me within just a few minutes. I remember once going to the local spa with some of my friends for a free day. While I was there, I could not stay in the steam room or the Jacuzzi because the heat from both was making me ill and weak. I retired to the swimming pool with the cool water while everyone else finished off his or her day at the spa. This was years ago of course. However, they were signs I did not recognize as such since even sunburn and sun poisoning are also considered heat illnesses.
However, in just this past week with the temperatures so very high I know that some of the women can suffer the same heat illness. I had to make a run to town with my youngest child in tow. I first needed to fill-up the car with gas since it was on empty and well, I was running on fumes. However, since the gas tank was lower than it has ever been I suppose there must have been some powerful suction on the gas cap because I could not get it off by myself. I tried for about 10 minutes or so by myself before asking one of the men at the gas station if he might be able to do so.
Unfortunately, he could not get the gas cap off the car and then a young adult male standing nearby offered his assistance once the first man left. Neither could get the gas cap off the car. Therefore, I drove around to the service department at WalMart and one of the attendants tired and was unable to get the gas cap off the car. Luckily, a friend the store pharmacist happened to come out the back, he saw me and spoke. I am not sure if he did this because he recognized me or if he recognized a person about to fall over from heat exhaustion. However, thankfully that man was able to get the gas cap off the car for me.
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What does heat exhaustion feel like? It is terribly uncomfortable and it can leave you feeling weak and listless or even worse. However, I will tell you of my experience with heat exhaustion so hopefully, you will recognize it for what it is; if it happens to you or someone you know as well.
I was nearly into town with the windows rolled down since there is no AC in my car. I remember feeling a bit light headed but shrugged it off thinking I had not eaten breakfast before leaving the house, but I could get something to eat after finishing my business in town. Of course, I did not realize that I was about to spend more than an hour out in the hot sun. I was wearing navy shorts and a large navy tee shirt that hangs nearly to my knees. I was only prepared to run to town, get gas, go to the bank and pick up just a few groceries. This trip would normally take me about an hour or an hour and a half to complete and be back at home.
However, spending that hour in the sun and I did my best to find shade when I could; nevertheless, the heat and the sun really did me in by overheating my body. I was sweating or perspiring of course, but it seems that it did not take long to dehydrate my body. I began feeling a bit queasy and then every now and again I would have a strange dizzy spell that would last for just seconds when they first began. However, as the heat influenced my body the dizzy spells got a bit worse.
There was no line at the bank inside the store and I walked right up to the teller as I was having one of the dizzy spells when just moments before I did feel just a bit better. However, upon reaching the tellers window my knees went wobbly and I caught a hold of the counter while standing there getting my balance and making my transaction. The teller asked me if I was OK, I said, No, Im not. I am strong, and I have endured lots of pain but I was not expecting the heat to be so bad as to make me feel as terrible as it was making me feel and so quickly either. She offered me the only chair in the reception area. I sat and then soon asked for some water. She brought me bottled water. I took two small swallows. However, soon I was making a request for the garbage can and then up came both swallows of water right there in the bank and everyone in WalMart.
It was terribly embarrassing however; everyone was as kind as can be. As soon as I was able to get up and walk away, I headed towards the restroom area. Rinsing my arms, wrists and face with cold water from the sink and then looking at myself in the mirror. I had no idea I had gotten so ill from the sun so very quickly. My daughter tells me, Mom; your face is purple red. I am feeling so ill. We go back to the gas station and I get gas. I took two more small swallows of water and soon they came right back up as I was pulled over in the parking lot thinking I was about to die from the cramps I was experiencing. I took off the big navy tee shirt sitting there in the parking lot and drove home in my undershirt. I am thankful that it was a straight shot after reaching the highway and for my cruise control.
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We rode with the windows down and the breeze helped me feel better while driving. The next few days were full of getting the kids ready for back to school with taking them there, filling out forms and then buying the requested school supplies. I was drained and feeling bad. My body was dehydrated, and my DBF or darling boyfriend brought me Sour Melon Poweraide to help rehydrate me as well as for the electrolytes. I have drank these and Gatorade to help rehydrate my body and help me feel better. There has been one or two days when all I could do was get the kids ready for school and then go back to bed with the fans on high because I was too weak to even sit for too long.
I am feeling better now, but still a bit weak. Thankfully, the dizzy spells stopped and the nausea stopped once my body was rehydrated. Therefore, the moral of this heat illness, heat exhaustion, heat stroke story is to stay in the shade as much as possible. Do not overdress while it is hot and make sure you drink a lot of fluids to keep your body hydrated.
And of course, it is natural to say that If you do begin feeling worse, then you should of course, speak with your personal physician…