With rising temperatures in Kern County, it is important to know the differences between heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
According to WebMD, heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after being exposed to high temperatures and is usually accompanied with dehydration. There are two types, water depletion and salt depletion.
- Dark-colored urine
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
Without taking the proper steps, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke and damage vital organs leading to death.
Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related injury. Also known as sunstroke, it can strike even with no previous heat injury. The definition, according to WebMD, is a core body temperature of 105 degrees or higher with nervous system complication stemming from exposure to high temperatures.
- A core body temperature of 105 degrees or greater
- Throbbing headache
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Lack of sweating despite heat
- Red, hot and/or dry skin
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat, which may be strong or weak
- Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, staggering
Treatment for heat exhaustion includes drinking plenty of fluids (excluding caffeine and alcohol), removing any tight or unnecessary clothing, taking a cool shower or bath and applying other cooling methods like towels or fans.
If you suspect someone has heat stroke, immediately call 9-1-1 or transport that person to the hospital. Delays in seeking medical help can be fatal.