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What Is Heat-Tetany And How Is it Managed

Published on May 05, 2022 and last reviewed on Nov 14, 2022   -  5 min read

Abstract

Heat tetany is a condition caused due to a person being exposed to extreme thermal conditions. Read the article to learn more about it.

Contents

Introduction

Heat tetany is a condition in which there is hyperventilation and heat stress due to a person being exposed to extreme thermal conditions.

What Are the Characteristic Symptoms of Heat Tetany?

Heat tetany may give rise to an array of symptoms. These symptoms may cause a diagnostic dilemma, as they mimic several other conditions.

The symptoms commonly seen are enlisted as follows;

Who Are Prone to Developing the Condition?

Workers exposed to extreme temperatures or working in harsh heat environments may risk developing heat stress. It is an occupational hazard that may lead to illnesses and injuries.

Heat stress can result in the following conditions:

  1. Heat Stroke: It is the condition caused by overheating of the body resulting from either exposure to excess heat or strenuous exercise in a hot environment.

  2. Heat Exhaustion: Exhaustion occurs as a result of increased exposure to heat, causing sweating and loss of salts and water from the body.

  3. Heat Cramps: Cramps may occur as a result of muscular spasms caused due to excessive heat exposure.

  4. Heat Rashes: Burns and blisters may occur on the skin, usually red in color, due to the naked skin being too close to a radiant heat source or exposed to hot environments.

Extreme thermal conditions also increase the risk of injuries. It results in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness caused due to loss of sodium and potassium salts.

Burns may occur due to accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam.

Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others.

How and Why Does Heat Tetany Occur?

When the body gains and retains heat faster than it can dissipate, it fails to cool itself down in the presence of excess heat, which results in heat tetany.

During this, the core temperature rises, causing the heart rate to increase. As the body preserves its heat, the person loses concentration and has difficulty focusing. A task may become irritable or sickening. Often a loss of desire to drink fluids is observed. This is followed by fainting and even death if the person is not cooled down by dissipation of the accumulated heat.

Factors that contribute to heat stress are enlisted as follows;

  1. High Air Temperature: When an individual is exposed to extreme heat conditions, suddenly.

  2. Radiant Heat Source: Often seen in individuals working in smelting facilities, firefighters, etc., who are prone to radiant heat sources.

  3. High Humidity: Increased humidity results in increased sweating. This causes loss of water and salts from the body leading to dehydration.

  4. Direct Physical Contact With Hot Objects: This is usually seen in fire-fighters or individuals working in close proximity to heat sources, such as in mines or smelting plants.

  5. Strenuous Physical Activities: Activities like rigorous training exercises may result in the body generating more heat than it can dissipate.

How Can Heat Tetany Be Controlled?

What Are the First Aids that Can be Given to People Suffering From Heat Tetany?

What Are the Potential Risk Factors for Heat Tetany?

Several factors increase the risks for heat tetany, enlisted as follows;

What Are the Complications Caused By Heat Tetany?

Several complications can occur due to this condition which depends upon the duration of high body temperature. The more severe complications of this condition include the following;

Is Heat Tetany Preventable?

Heat tetany is a condition that is both predictable and preventable. The steps taken to prevent heat tetany during hot weather or while working under extreme thermal conditions are enlisted as follows;

Prevention

Conclusion:

Heat tetany is a condition in which there is hyperventilation and heat stress due to a person being exposed to extreme thermal conditions. When the body gains and retains heat faster than it can dissipate, it fails to cool itself down in the presence of excess heat, which results in heat tetany. Extreme thermal conditions also increase the risk of injuries, and it results in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness caused due to loss of sodium and potassium salts.

Burns may occur due to accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam. The ability of the body to deal with extreme heat depends on the strength of the central nervous system. In young individuals, the central nervous system is not fully developed, whereas it begins to deteriorate in adults over 65 years. Heat tetany is a condition that is both predictable and preventable. If body temperature cannot be lowered rapidly, heatstroke can cause the brain or other vital organs to swell and be fatal if left untreated or unattended.

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Last reviewed at:
14 Nov 2022  -  5 min read

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