The summer season is here again! Bikinis are in, barbecues are in but so are the possibilities for heat headache attacks. Keep in mind that the sun can be both friend and foe for mankind – friend because life depends on it and foe because overexposure can result in health issues.
Indeed, the cause and effect relationship between heat and headaches should be taken seriously by everybody. Even relatively robust athletes are well-advised to seek medical attention as soon as the heat appears to get through them, so to speak. Said advice should be considered with more urgency among small children and elderly individuals because of their more fragile physical constitution.
What exactly is the relationship between heat and headaches? It must first be noted that headaches can be caused by the expansion or contraction of the blood vessels in the brain, said actions of which are usually in response to an external stimuli such as changes in temperature, humidity and air pressure.
Heat headache attacks are then caused by the extreme changes in temperature or the prolonged exposure to the sun’s heat. Although the symptoms can be significantly lessened by getting indoors where cooler temperatures are present, by drinking water for rehydration, and by resting, headaches caused by heat exposure may be symptomatic of more serious medical conditions.
Without proper medical attention, your life may be at stake when your heat-induced headache is caused by one of these two heat-related illnesses:
According to the mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion is the result of a combination of overexertion in hot temperatures and/or high humidity. Think of jogging around Central Park during the midday heat of the sun in summer and you get the idea. The result: Heat headache coupled with symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea and rapid pulse as well as cool, clammy skin even when under the sun’s heat.
When left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a far more serious health issue. Fortunately, most cases of heat exhaustion respond within an hour to resting in a cool preferably air-conditioned place, drinking cool fluids and applying cool water to your skin, and wearing lightweight clothing. If these methods do not provide relief, get immediate medical attention (i.e., IV fluids).
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat stroke is the most dangerous of all heat-related illnesses with small children to elderly individuals affected the most. In a heat stroke, the body cannot cool itself in a natural manner so much so that its temperature rises to 106 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 10 minutes. Other observable symptoms include dizziness, confusion and vomiting, among others.
Seek medical attention immediately! Home remedies are ineffective, to say the least, when it comes to heat headache caused by heat stroke; it can lead to death.