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Heat Exhaustion on Trail

Heat Exhaustion

A few years ago, I was experiencing symptoms somewhere between heat exhaustion and heat stroke during a coastal trail. I’d hiked about 4 miles of gold sand covered trail pending the middle of a hot sunny day; I was drinking some quantity of water and felt that I was staying ahead of the dehydration curve.

Once I come back home, I took a shower to get clean than to cool my body. After bathing, I continued to experience headache, nausea and dizziness for three days.

  • 1Heat Related Illness
  • 2Treatment for Heat Exhaustion
  • 3Preventing Heat Exhaustion

1Heat Related Illness

In general, there are three levels of heat related illness that backpackers should be care about in hot weather: heat cramping, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The difference between them is especially in your body’s ability to self adjust its temperature and how fast you can get over.

Heat cramping features dehydration, experience leg or abdomen cramps and heavy sweat. You can usually recover quickly from it by properly rehydrating.

Heat exhaustion features heavy sweating, dizziness, weakness, dark-colored urine, fainting, confusion, fatigue, muscle cramps, weak pulse, and nausea. It may take several days or even weeks to get over.

Heat stroke is the most dangerous case that requires urgent hospital treatment. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, shallow breathing and unconsciousness.

2Treatment for Heat Exhaustion

In most cases, you can treat heat exhaustion yourself by doing the following:

Rest in a shady spot: Getting into an air-conditioned room or spraying yourself with cold water and fanning. Rest on your back with your legs elevated higher than your heart level.

Drink cool fluids: Drink water, tea or juice unless alcoholic fluids which can contribute to dehydration. Water is usually enough for hydration, but sports drink can also be helpful for recovery.

Try cooling measures: Take a cool shower or soak in a cool bath.

Loosen clothing: Remove any unnecessary clothing and make sure your clothes are lightweight.

If you don’t feel better within an hour, it’s recommended that you seek prompt medical treatment.

3Preventing Heat Exhaustion

Drink plenty of fluids frequently in hot weather

Hike early in the day and look for trails that are well shaded

Wear lightweight and lightly colored clothing that helps your body cool quite

Eat salty foods such as nuts to replace electrolytes than be lost by sweating

Wear a wide hat

Take longer breaks and drink plenty of water while resting

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