How to prevent and treat heat exhaustion


Yesterday I attended an outdoor graduation ceremony and was outside in 80+ (27C)degree weather for 2-3 hours. I sunblocked up, wore long jeans, a cotton t shirt, and a baseball cap. I had brought plenty of snacks and drank so much water during those few hours and it wasn’t until I went to the bathroom and got out of the direct sunlight that I realized how hot I was. I hung out in the shade for about 30 minutes to cool down before heading back out there.

Now I am more prone to heat exhaustion because of my spinal cord injury. I guess when ½ of your body isn’t functioning properly, it can’t regulate temperature as well as an able bodied person. If you are younger than 4, older than 65, obese, or are on certain medications you can be more prone to heat exhaustion as well.

I felt fine all day and came home and felt fine when I went to bed. It’s during the night that the heat exhaustion finally kicked in. I wore a hoodie, slept under the sheets and comforter, and was still freezing cold. I woke up around 4:30am and felt like I had a fever of 105! My entire body was so hot, I could have cooked an egg on my leg. I stripped down to just a sheet and after a while was able to get to bed again once my body wasn’t cooking itself.

This morning I feel achy, cold, shivering, dizzy, fatigued, and have a headache.

Here’s what I’m going to be doing today to try and feel better:

  • Took some ibuprofen to lower my fever and help with the aches
  • Drinking a ton of water
  • Drinking coconut water (not as processed as Gatorade, natural sugars, tons of electrolytes)
  • Apples are so delicious with how juicy they are and the sugars inside
  • Taking some magnesium supplements to replenish those electrolytes.
  • Wearing cool and loose clothes. Although I am shivering pretty badly so I am wearing a hoodie again.

Here’s what I am going to do next time to be more prepared and prevent this from happening:

  • Wear white or lighter colored clothing
  • Bring a small umbrella for shade
  • Wear a better hat with 360 degree protection instead of just protecting the front like a baseball hat does
  • Bring a bandanna and wet it and apply that to my skin to promote evaporation
  • Wear shorts and some sandals

In Argentina they have a tradition of taking a siesta during the hottest part of the day. All businesses shut down from like 12:00-2:00 or 3:00pm and everyone goes home and they take a nap, watch TV, and just conserve their energy. They then go back to work and reopen for a couple more hours. They have things down and understand to take it easy during the hottest parts of the day.

Be careful out there with the temperatures increasing as summer comes.

Did I miss anything? What do you do to stay cool during the summer?


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