First Time for Heat Exhaustion

by Sara
(Iowa, USA)

I know that I'm sensitive to heat and that I don't feel good out in it. I had never been sick from it though. This summer I have started a garden and have been outside a lot working in the heat, playing with the kids or working on gardening or flowers. I have fair skin and almost always need to wear sunscreen if I plan on any amount of time in the sun.

The day it happened I had on sunscreen. I had planned to turn up the dirt in a new flower bed using a spade. Keep in mind that I'm not in great physical shape or anything. I was determined to get it done so I could get my flowers planted! It was morning and the sun was shining brightly. It was probably about 80 degrees and pretty humid (July in Iowa). I was in the sunny part and shoveling and working. I had my daughter (5) get me a towel to wipe sweat.

Four different times I went inside to the AC and to drink water. I went through four 16 ounce bottles of water and reasoned that SHOULD have been enough water. I was tired and worn out, but I wanted that flower bed done!

I kept working and about when I was done I wanted to water some other flowers and thought that'd be safe as holding a hose isn't very much work. The clouds had covered the sun and I was under a shade tree the last part of my job.

All of a sudden I noticed I was getting goose bumps, I didn't feel cold really. After going in for a less than hot shower I started getting a horrible headache that went from my eyes, temples, to the back of the neck. After that I got a bottle of Gatorade and drank about 16 oz of it.

I then laid down under a ceiling fan on high and didn't get dressed after the shower. I reasoned, that the water, gatorade, shower and fan should be enough to cool me off. Then I started getting scared and started crying. I was SO afraid that I'd pass out with my two kids there (3 and 5).

I had my daughter (5) get me the phone. I called my sister in law to come over and feed the kids lunch and watch over me. All the things I did seemed to do the trick.....After having lunch (it was 130 and I hadn't eaten much all day) and little more Gatorade I felt a lot better. The headache took a while longer to go away.

I found out later this was heat exhaustion. I had been under the impression that the symptoms would have been more severe, so I just thought I was tired.

Be careful out there!

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