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Guide to heat exhaustion and how to prevent it

Updated: Sep 4

Heat exhaustion is a condition that occurs when the body overheats due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures or strenuous physical activity in a hot environment. It is considered a serious condition because if left untreated or if not managed properly, it can progress to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening medical emergency.

During the summer months, heat exhaustion is a very real and all too common occurrence. Most people don’t even notice their symptoms until it has progressed to the point they can no longer participate in the event or worse.

Some of the symptoms of Heat Exhaustion may include;

  • Heavy sweating

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Confusion

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Headache

  • Muscle cramps

  • Pale, cool skin

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Fainting

Not everyone experiences all of these symptoms at once but even a slight headache or feeling more fatigued than usual can be a good indicator that you need to treat yourself for potential heat exhaustion.

IF YOU STOP SWEATING and are not feeling well, stop everything you are doing immediately and let someone know. This is a major indicator of Heat Stroke and is extremely serious.

Some of the symptoms of Heat Stroke may include;

  • Very high body temperature

  • Absence of sweating

  • Rapid, shallow breathing

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Confusion

  • Agitation

  • Seizures

  • Hallucinations

  • Loss of consciousness

It is important to note that both heat exhaustion and heat stroke require attention and should not be taken lightly.

To prevent heat exhaustion, it's important to take proactive measures to protect yourself from excessive heat and maintain proper hydration. Here are some key strategies to help prevent heat exhaustion:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. You should carry a water bottle with you at all times. Water is the best choice, but you can also include electrolyte-rich beverages such as sports drinks or coconut water to replenish lost minerals. Some people also use Electrolyte Powder or Tablets to supplement their water intake. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary beverages as they can contribute to dehydration. Keep in mind, if you haven't had to use the latrines in a while, you're likely not hydrated enough!

  • Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that allows for better air circulation. Opt for breathable fabrics like linen that wick away moisture from your skin, helping to keep you cooler. Covering your skin to avoid sunburn is a good idea, but avoid synthetic materials like polyester. If you wear metal armor, do not leave it in the sun. If possible, paint it or cover it with a tunic or tabard. Metal absorbs heat extremely well and will bake you inside of it. Color can also make a noticeable difference in heat absorption. Be conscious of your summer wear colors.

  • Seek shade and take breaks: Try to find shaded areas to take breaks and rest often. Use this time to hydrate as much as possible.

  • Wear and reapply sunscreen: Sunburns are a huge factor when it comes to your body heat. Make sure to protect your skin from cooking.

  • Use cooling methods: Use cooling methods to lower your body temperature, such as applying cooling towels to your neck, wrists, or forehead. You can also mist yourself with water or use handheld fans to create airflow.

  • Know your limits: Be aware of your body's tolerance to heat and adjust your activities accordingly. If you start feeling unwell or experience symptoms of heat exhaustion, stop the activity and seek a cooler environment. Don’t push yourself to attend mods and be sure to remove excess armor or heavy pieces of clothing if necessary.

  • Keep an eye on each other: Some people find it difficult to notice the symptoms that occur when heat exhaustion sets in or may have their mental state affected by the heat. Keep an eye out for anyone who may seem to be acting differently and check in to see if they’re okay.

  • Stay informed: Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat advisories in your area. Stay updated on temperature and heat index values, and take necessary precautions when extreme heat is expected. For the most accurate weather forecast, search in the area of Curran, On, the nearest town to our site.

In the event that the heat still gets to you, make your way to NPC camp and ask to speak to a medical marshal. They will be able to help you make informed decisions on what steps to take next.

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