Heat illness can affect anyone and we should all watch for symptoms in ourselves and others during warm weather.
Heat illness is more common under certain conditions and for individuals with certain risk factors. High temperatures, direct sun exposure, lack of wind or breeze, and exposure to hot surfaces such as blacktop streets or hot machinery increase the risk of heat illness.
Personal risk factors can also increase the likelihood of heat illness, such as dehydration, not being physically ready for an activity, not taking enough breaks during strenuous activity or during extreme temperatures.
People are also at greater risk who have diabetes or heart disease, who have larger bodies or take certain medications including diuretics, muscle relaxers or medications for: blood pressure, allergies, depression or psychosis, diarrhea, dizziness.
If you believe someone has heat exhaustion, get them water and into a cool place immediately. If symptoms persist or worsen to heat stroke, call 911 and follow the supportive measures below until help arrives.
- Heavy sweating
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Weakness or muscle cramps
- Clammy or pale skin
- Nausea, vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow or rapid breathing
What to do
- Remove excess clothing
- Rest in a cool area
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Have a sports drink or salty snack to replace salt and minerals lost through sweat.
- Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath
- Red, hot skin
- Rapid pulse
- Heavy sweating (may be absent)
- Severe headache
- Loss of consciousness
- Body temperature of 103 or higher
What to do
- Call 9-1-1
- Move to an air-conditioned space
- Cool down with cold towels and ice
- Offer water only if fully conscious