Hyperthermia is a serious condition associated with heavy sweating, rapid pulse and several more symptoms which all develop as a consequence of body overheating.
Hyperthermia results from exposure to high temperatures, especially if the humidity is high and one is additionally engaged in strenuous physical activity. Left untreated, hyperthermia may easily progress into heat stroke, the most severe form of hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia Causes and Risk Factors
Human body normally responds to hot weather in the form of increased perspiration. This process allows the body to cool down. Still, if the body is exposed to intense heat for a long period of time, it simply loses its ability to respond adequately. This is when hyperthermia takes place.
Risk factors associated with hyperthermia include person's overall health and specific circumstances. In people who are suffering from poor circulation, insufficient sweat gland function, certain age-related skin changes as well as those with heart, lung or kidney diseases, hyperthermia easily develops.
The condition is also more frequent among individuals on salt-restrictive diets. The risk is higher if the heat is unbearable, one is overdressed and there are no efficient means to cool down the air inside close spaces (lack of air conditioners, fans etc).
People who are engaged in activities or work in open space during summer months are particularly at risk of developing hyperthermia.
There are several preventive measures which, if applied appropriately, may prevent hyperthermia even in most susceptible individuals.
When temperature starts to climb one of the most important preventive measures is to wear loose fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. If there is too much clothes, the body's temperature will soon rise. Furthermore, dark-colored clothing holds heat and attracts more sunlight.
People who are in the direct sunlight can protect themselves with an umbrella. Those who work in fields and perform similar activities are due to wear a lightweight, wide-brimmed hat.
It is best to seek a cooler place and those who work outside are due to make frequent brakes, staying away from the direct sun. In office, at home etc the temperature of the air is easily reduced with air conditioning systems and fans.
Staying Away from Sun Exposure and Fluid Intake
Intake of plenty of fluids is a must. By drinking a lot of water, the body stays well-hydrated and can maintain proper temperature.
People suffering from certain medical conditions are due to consult their health care providers regarding additional measures they should apply in order to prevent hyperthermia.
Finally, it is best to stay away from exercising or performing any strenuous activity in hot weather, if this is possible. If not, one must take frequent brakes and drink a lot of fluid before, during and after the activity.