Heatstroke is a medical emergency that occurs when your body temperature reaches dangerous levels rapidly. While athletes are most prone to heatstroke, children and the elderly are also affected. This is especially true when dehydration is present along with an electrolyte imbalance, calling for electrolyte replenishment.
Without rest and allowing the body to cool down, a heatstroke can result in serious health consequences or even death. This blog post will address what you need to know about heatstroke and how to stay safe through electrolyte replenishment.
What is the Difference Between Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion is not the same thing as a heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is a stress response from loss of water, typically by sweating. You may feel dizzy, confused, and very thirsty.
Heatstroke is a more serious form of heat illness. It happens when your body reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The body can reach this temperature very rapidly—within 10 to 15 minutes, at which point the body has a difficult time controlling its temperature. The sweating response fails, making it nearly impossible to cool down without intervention.
But what is the cause of heat strokes? Various risk factors can increase your risk of developing heat stroke. These include:
- Being male
- Drinking alcohol
- Being dehydrated
- Taking certain medication that inhibits your body to regulate its temperature, such as diuretics
- Having medical disorders including sleep disorders and kidney problems
- Wearing tight clothing
- Poor physical health
- Not being used to hot conditions
Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. With proper precautions, you can prevent death from heatstroke.
What are the Signs of Heat Stroke?
There are several signs and symptoms to watch for when detecting heatstroke. The most common include:
- Red, hot skin
- Rapid, uneven heart rate
- Extremely high body temperature (104° F)
- Tremors or convulsions
- Nausea, vomiting, dizziness
- No sweating present
- Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
What to do if You are Having a Heat Stroke
If you or a loved one are having a heat stroke, you must seek help right away. Take the following steps if you believe that you are having a heat stroke, or someone you love is experiencing one.
- Call 911. Heatstroke is a very serious, often fatal condition, it can not be treated at home. Call 911 immediately and then administer first aid while you wait for help to arrive.
- Move to an air-conditioned environment. If that’s not possible, at least look for a shady area out of the sun.
- Remove unnecessary or restrictive clothing.
- Sip fluids such as water or a sports drink.
- Try to lower your body temperature- Immerse yourself in shallow cool water, wet your skin with cool water, and fan the damp skin or apply ice packs to armpits, groin, neck, and back.
- Monitor breathing but avoid taking any medications.
Taking these steps can help save a life. Remember that you cannot treat a heat stroke at home!
The Relationship Between Heat Stroke and Electrolytes
On a hot day, your body sweats to keep itself cool. As you sweat, your body loses some electrolytes. Prolonged exposure to the sun can result in excessive sweating, which can ultimately lead to the loss of many important electrolytes in your body.
As your body expels sweat and electrolytes, this can lead to other heat-related issues such as heat cramps. You can experience heat cramps in your calves and quadriceps.
If electrolyte loss happens alongside heat exhaustion, you may ultimately experience a heat stroke.
Luckily, replenishing electrolytes can help prevent heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are very important for the body. They help regulate your heartbeat as well as control your breathing. Your electrolytes are also important to the health of your brain as they keep it functioning properly.
Electrolytes are a group of molecules that your body cannot produce itself so they must be obtained through your diet. You can obtain electrolytes from foods such as bananas, spinach, broccoli, seaweed, and almonds.
Some experts recommend that you also try to include foods high in potassium in your diet because potassium is critical for keeping your electrolytes in balance. If you are severely deficient in potassium, you may experience muscle weakness, fatigue, and numbness in your feet and legs. Some people are at greater risk of developing an electrolyte imbalance because of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease.
The human body can lose large amounts of electrolytes through urine as well as sweating. Some of these electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and phosphate.
What are the Symptoms of Low Electrolytes?
Do you suspect that you have low electrolytes? Some people are unaware that they are low in electrolytes, which can cause symptoms such as:
- Muscle cramps in your legs
- Throwing up
- Irregular heart rate
- Brain fog
- Numbness and tingling
It’s important to note that you may not experience every single symptom if you are low in electrolytes, you may simply feel tired. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there is a possibility that you have an electrolyte imbalance.
Keep in mind that the amount of electrolytes that you need is different for everyone. Some people need to take apple cider vinegar each night to prevent leg cramps. Others need to take a magnesium pill. It all depends on the specific person. Your family doctor can help you determine if you have a true electrolyte imbalance.
How do You Replenish Electrolytes?
The good news is that electrolytes are easy to replenish, although some ways are better than others. You can safely replenish electrolytes by:
- Adding more salt to your food. Proceed with caution on this, as too much sodium can also cause health problems.
- Drinking unsweetened coconut water
- Eating more bananas
- Consuming dairy products
- Eating avocado
- Drinking fruit juice
- Eating white meat and poultry
While these methods can help replenish your electrolytes, they might not be enough to prevent a problem like heat stroke. If your electrolytes are low, consider turning to one of the top electrolyte drinks on the market: Biolyte.
Drinking Biolyte for Electrolyte Replenishment
Biolyte is dubbed “the IV bag in a bottle”. Developed by an anesthesiologist and a pain specialist in Atlanta, Biolyte is a healthier electrolyte replenishment drink than mainstream sports drinks.
The founder of Biolyte leveraged his background in IV hydration therapy and nutritional supplements to create the drink. It takes the concept of using an IV bag and turns it into something that you can drink, making the benefits of IV hydration therapy accessible to everyone.
Biolyte contains electrolytes, vitamins and minerals that help you battle dehydration, fatigue, nausea, and—you guessed it—symptoms of heat illness.
By drinking Biolyte, you can recover better and faster to rid of liver toxins, allowing your body to function at peak capacity. This drink is suitable for severe dehydration, making it beneficial to those who are spending a lot of time outside in the heat.
Drinking Biolyte is the equivalent of drinking 6.5 bottles of the leading sports drink. It provides you with an energy boost via vitamins b12, B6, and B5 along with L-carnitine. It contains milk thistle which can help cleans your liver. The drink will also help fight nausea with ginger and dextrose. To maintain your sugar levels, the drink includes erythritol to give energy without spiking blood sugar.
Stay Hydrated: Get Electrolyte Replenishment with Biolyte
The most common cause of heatstroke is over-exertion or stress followed by inadequate water intake. Drinking Biolyte can keep you adequately hydrated to prevent heat illness.
If you have questions about electrolytes or you are concerned about heat illnesses, feel free to reach out to us at Palm Harbor Pharmacy. We can let you know if any of your medications make you more susceptible to heat illness, including heatstroke.
Interested in trying Biolyte for electrolyte replenishment? Stop by our pharmacy and browse our selection today.