Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke. What May Happen If You Fall Such Condition?
Three clinical conditions may result from exposure to high environmental temperature:
(1) Heat Cramps, (2) Heat Prostration, and (3) Heat Hyperpyrexia.
The onset is usually sudden, with sudden collapse and loss of consciousness. In some Cases, prodromal symptoms of headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, faintness, staggering gait, purposeless movements, mental confusion, muscle cramps, restlessness and excessive thirst occur. The temperature rises to 40°C to 43°C or more. The skin is dry, hot and flushed, with complete absence of sweating. The pupils are contracted. The pulse is rapid (usually more than 130 p.m.) and later becomes irregular. The breathing is rapid, (usually above 30 breaths p.m.) deep and of Kussmaul type. Blood pressure is low. Convulsions occur and the patient becomes delirious or comatose. The fatal period is five minutes to three days.
(1) Heat Cramps: (miner's cramps, stoker's cramps, or fireman's cramps):
They are caused by a rapid dehydration of body through the loss of water and salt in the sweat. It is seen in workers in high temperature when sweating has been profuse. The onset is usually sudden. Severe and painful paroxysmal cramps affecting the muscles of the arms, legs and abdomen occur. The face is flushed, the pupils dilated and the patient complains of dizziness, tinnitus, headache and vomiting. Intravenous injection of saline gives rapid relief.
(2) Heat Prostration (heat exhaustion; heat syncope, or heat collapse):
Heat prostration is a condition of collapse without increase in body . temperature, which follows exposure to excessive heat. It is. precipitated by muscular work and unsuitable clothing. There is extreme exhaustion and peripheral vascular collapse. The patient feels suddenly weak, giddy and sick. He may stagger or fall. The face is pale, the skin cold, the temperature, subnormal. "Die pupils are dilated, the pulse small and thready and the respiration sighing. The patient usually recovers if placed at rest, but death may take place from heart failure.
(3) Heat Hyperpyrexia or Heat Stroke:
Heat stroke is a condition characterized by rectal temperature greater than 41°C and neurological disturbances ,such as psychosis ,delirium ,stupor ,coma, and convulsions. The term thermic fever or "sunstroke" is used when there has been direct exposure to the sun. High temperature, increased humidity, minor infections, muscular activity, and lack of acclimatization are the principal factors in the initiation. Where there is 100% humidity, a temperature of 32°C in the environment may lead to heat stroke. Other factors are old age, preexisting disease, alcoholism, use of major tranquillizers, obesity, lack of air movement and unsuitable clothing. Failure of cutaneous blood flow and sweating, the factors which control body "temperature, leads to a breakdown of the heat regulating centre of the hypothalamus.
Heat Stroke Occurs: (1) in young persons exposed lo high temperature while undergoing severe exertion, and (2) in old persons usually over 60 years during heat waves.