Heat danger: Tell-tale symptoms

2012-12-31 00:00

FOUR kilometres is a long run for an unfit person, especially in the 33°C heat that lay over Pietermaritzburg last Thursday, Justin Durandt, manager of the SA Institute for Sport Science in Cape Town, said yesterday.

“It’s not far by army standards, but remember, army recruits get fit over a period of three months.”

He said other factors could have played a part in the seven deaths, like people wearing heavy clothes, standing in the sun before the run, or doing exercise beforehand.

“However, I’m surprised that so many people died. I don’t think we’ve been given all the facts,” Durandt said. — OC.

HEAT EXHAUSTION: The body gets too hot, especially while doing strenuous exercise in conditions of high humidity. Symptoms: heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast but weak pulse.

HEAT STROKE: This can follow heat exhaustion and is life-threatening because the body can no longer regulate the temperature of the brain. Symptoms: body temperature above 40,6°C, dry skin, strong, rapid pulse, and dizziness. Urgent medical attention is needed.

DEHYDRATION: The body loses more liquid and vital salts. If left untreated, this too can be life-threatening. Symptoms: headache, lowered blood pressure, swelling of the tongue and faintness.

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