Hyperthermia signs to remember when kayaking

Hyperthermia can strike fast, especially if you're kayaking under the hot sun in summer. With a few warning signs, you'll be able to avoid overheating and stay safe outside.

Hyperthermia signs to remember when kayaking

Know the signs of hyperthermia before you start kayaking

Kayaking is a demanding activity that can provide adventure and fun. But, it can also pose a few risks to its participants, including hyperthermia.

  • Hyperthermia occurs when the body is unable to regulate itself and overheats.
  • There are two types of overheating: heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • If you are interested in kayaking during the hot, summer months, it is important that you know the signs of hyperthermia before you start paddling.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the less severe form of hyperthermia.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • heavy sweating
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • paleness
  • vomiting
  • weakness

Heat exhaustion can be treated with self-care measures, including getting out of the sun and applying ice packs to lower body temperature.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is the more dangerous form of hyperthermia.

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • agitation
  • disorientation
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • hot and dry skin
  • racing heartbeat
  • sometimes seizures.

Heat stroke can be fatal if untreated, so call for medical attention immediately if these symptoms are present.

  • While waiting for medical attention, a person who is suffering from heat stroke should be moved to a cool, shaded area and any excess clothing should be removed.
  • Apply cool, wet towels along the armpits, groin, head and neck of the heat stroke victim to bring down his body temperature.

Contributing factors

  • Although rare, certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure, can make a person more vulnerable to hyperthermia.
  • Young people are more prone to overheating, as the central nervous system is underdeveloped and can't cope with the stresses of extreme heat.
  • Another contributing factor is obesity because extra weight makes the body work harder to regulate body temperature.

Prevention

Hyperthermia can be avoided in a number of ways.

  • One way is to stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after kayaking. By staying hydrated, the body will be able to produce sweat, and sweat acts as the body's natural cooling system.
  • Another way to avoid overheating is to forgo alcoholic and caffeinated beverages since those two ingredients can cause the body to dehydrate.
  • Also, using a headband that is saturated in water can help keep a person cool.
  • Wearing appropriate clothing made of cotton will also help the body regulate its temperature.
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