You probably know about Heat Stroke. It’s a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body can no longer keep cool.
However, you may not know about the differences between Heat Stress and Heat Exhaustion.
Are they different from Heat Stroke? How do all these conditions differ? And what is the difference between them? If you’ve ever been caught in a hot and humid climate without adequate hydration, you’ll be aware of how much worse it makes a sunburn feel.
That’s because Heat Exhaustion, dehydration, and Sunburn are all symptoms of overheating, also known as Heat Stress in the body.
Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent all of these conditions ahead of time.
What is Heat Stroke?
Heat Stroke is defined as a core body temperature over 40 degrees Celsius. It creates sudden dizziness, lack of sweating, confusion, muscle cramps, and even unconsciousness.
The most common cause is exposure to high temperatures, particularly in an area with high humidity.
Heat Stroke can occur in healthy people of any age but is more likely to occur in those with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or other conditions that interfere with proper blood flow.
Symptoms may be mild at first, progressing rapidly to extreme symptoms that could damage internal organs and be fatal if not treated.
Treating the symptoms early is the best way to help slow and stop the condition from worsening. Giving the affected person First Aid is the best way to ensure their safety.
If you are not familiar with or lack the skill to treat Heat illnesses, then it is in your best interest to seek out First Aid training so try to look for training that covers all your needs.
However, if the symptoms develop into Heat Stroke, call (000) or go to a doctor and hospital immediately.
When does Sunburn become Heat Stroke?
When the skin is exposed to UV rays, the blood vessels in the area dilate slightly to bring more blood to the surface. This is what we call inflammation or Sunburn.
A sunburn is the most notable precursor to Heat Stroke. It’s important to note that Sunburn is not the same thing as Heat Stroke.
The blood vessels can open up too much with enough UV exposure, causing blood to seep out of the vessels and into the surrounding tissue.
This is called edema, which is a kind of swelling brought on by heat. When the blood vessels in the surrounding tissue are filled up with blood, the vessels carrying blood to the skin are unable to do their job.
The skin is deprived of the blood flow it needs to repair itself after the sun’s UV rays damage it.
Learning how to find and read a UV index can help you understand the poetical danger of sun damage on any given day.
All of this then leads to other Heat Stroke symptoms like dizziness, vomiting, and dehydration.
When does a Sunburn become Heat Exhaustion?
Heat Exhaustion is the first step on the way to developing Heat Stroke.
Usually starts with a milder form of all the symptoms associated with Heat Stroke, but in most cases, it can be enough to send someone to the hospital.
Heat Exhaustion is diagnosed when you’ve been exposed to a high level of heat, have been sweating and have lost electrolytes through your sweat, and have had little to no fluids to replace those lost electrolytes.
As you begin to become more dehydrated and electrolyte levels fall, the heart then pumps harder to try and push the blood through the body.
The body then starts to use its glycogen stores to keep going. When the glycogen stores are depleted after a few hours, the body begins to convert proteins into glycogen to keep going.
This continues until the condition turns into Heat Stroke and a person’s life then becomes in danger.
When does a Sunburn become Heat Stress?
Heat Stress is another lesser form of the more serious condition.
It typically occurs when your body struggles to maintain the normal temperature while experiencing a high temperature, humidity, and sweating.
Heat Stress can occur when the temperature is high and humidity is low, but it can also occur when the temperature is low, but the humidity is high.
While each condition is different, the symptoms are the same, with a feeling of exhaustion and symptoms similar but less severe than Heat Stroke symptoms.
The most notable early symptom of Heat Stress is the feeling of being dehydrated.
In the end
Sunburn is the most notable precursor to heatstroke. If you’ve been exposed to UV rays and have a sunburn, you’re experiencing edema and inflammation at the site, which is the body’s way of protecting the blood vessels underneath.
As the Sunburn progresses, your blood vessels are covered in blood, and your skin isn’t receiving the blood flow it needs to repair itself.
The best way to prevent this is to follow the sun safety guidelines that the Australian Cancer Council has set out.
However, it is important to remember that Sunburn is not the same thing as Heat Stroke.
Not until you are showing more symptoms or signs of distress that can lead to the progression to Heat Stroke, such as dehydration.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!