Heat strokes and how to avoid them

Posted: Thursday, 4 October 2012

Categories: Exercise, Fitness

Heat strokes, also known as heat exhaustion, cause hundreds of deaths a year. Heat strokes are caused by the body struggling to keep control of its core temperature. A heatstroke can start off as heat exhaustion, which if untreated then progresses to this more severe form. During personal training in maidenhead sessions this can be a problem.

Most people sweat around 1 litre a day, and when exercising can sweat even more than this. When we sweat, large amounts of salt and water is lost. If the body loses too much, the symptoms of heat stroke develop, and the more they develop, the more serious the situation becomes. As it progresses, the body becomes dangerously dehydrated. The bodies cooling systems are no longer able to assist, and so the body temperature starts to rise further.


The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Excess sweating
  • Headaches
  • Feeling faint
  • Tiredness
  • Muscles cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting

With heatstroke, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Fits

Anyone can be at risk, but people with less efficient body cooling systems such as babies and older people, people with diarrhoea, being in areas of high humidity, and those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

Treatment- Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and so anyone showing the above signs should be admitted to hospital, where the salts and fluids levels can be raised. If left untreated, can cause unconsciousness, comas, and death. Fortunately, this rarely happens, as it so easy to treat before anything serious progresses. Remove the affected person from the situation, e.g. an intense fitness class, into a cool room, and give them fluids and salts- an isotonic/electrolyte drink would be ideal. Continue this until they feel better.

Avoiding such symptoms are always the best way for prevention, and so during exercise drink plenty of cool fluids, and try not to over-do it!

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