Surving Hellish Temps While you Travel

Last week Headlines screamed Hell is Coming” based on Western Europe’s unprecedented heat wave.  When Temperatures surge upward, heat exhaustion events multiply.  We love to travel, but going to a new region may leave you unprepared for the extreme weather.  In an age when young athletes have collapsed and even died from heat exhaustion, the need to know how to recognize symptoms and treatment of heat exhaustion and heat stroke is imperative.

There are two types of heat exhaustion:

  1. Dehydration.  Heat exhaustion from water depletion symptoms include:
    1. Excessive thirst –.
    1. Weakness – get out of the heat if possible, and rest
    1. Dark-colored urine
    1. fatigue
    1. Headache
    1. And finally, loss of consciousness.
  2. Salt depletion.  Heat exhaustion from salt depletion symptoms include
    1. Nausea and vomiting or diarrhea
    1. Pale skin
    1. Muscle cramps
    1. Dizziness
    1. Rapid heartbeat

Though heat exhaustion is not as dangerous as heat stroke, it can lead to heat stroke, which can cause brain damage, other vital organ damage and even death.  TAKE HEAT EXHAUSTION SERIOUSLY. 

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion:

Photo by Leo Cardelli from Pexels
  • Drink enough fluids.  drink water for this, or another beverage free of alcohol and free of caffeine.  If you can get a non-sugary sports drink with minerals that are expended when your body sweats, great – but avoid sugary drinks too.
  • Remove tight or unnecessary clothing
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath or take a dip in a pool
  • Apply other cooling measures such as fans, ice towels or air conditioning.
  • If you do not feel improvement within 15 minutes of applying these treatments, SEEK EMERGENCY MEDICAL HELP.  Untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. For more on this subject, check out WebMD’s articles.
  • Once recovered, know that for another week, you may be more susceptible to high temperatures, so avoid prolonged exposure to hot weather and heavy exercise until your doctor tells you it is safe to resume either.  You can’t change the weather, but you don’t have to run or hike in the heat of the day either.  In Fact, Paris has gorgeous tours by night at MidnightInParis on Wheels.
  • Pay attention to the heat index, and remember that the index is higher if you are in full sunshine than in the shade of a nearby tree.
  • All that asphalt and concrete absorb and store heat –the urban island heat effect.
  • Keep in mind, vacations can happen in the water too.  While Europe strains under record temps, check out AquaticNomads and keep cool.