The three stages of heat related injuries are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Heat cramps is the mildest form of heat illness. It is associated with painful muscle cramps and spasms that occur after intense exercise in high heat. The skin is flushed and moist. The urine is dark.
Treatment: move to cool place, rest, decrease or limit activity. Hydrate with oral fluids and stretch cramping muscle.
Heat exhaustion is more severe and results from significant loss of fluids and sodium in the body. It occurs during extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. There is cramping, the skin is moist and pale, has nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, weakness. The temperature may be elevated slightly. The urine is dark.
Treatment: Move to a cool place and rest, remove excess of clothing, apply cool cloth and fan the skin. Consume cool sports drinks and water. If no improvement, refer to the emergency room.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It occurs when the body is no longer able to regulate temperature. The skin is warm and dry. There is no sweating. The temperature is elevated, The heart rate is fast, the individual has nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, agitation, and is very lethargic. There is no urine output.
Treatment: Move to a cool place, Call 911, remove excessive clothing, drench skin with cold water, fan the skin, place ice bags on the armpits and groin area. Give oral fluids if able to drink.