Temperatures are on the rise overall and while we are focused on enjoying the good weather, it’s easy to forget to keep up with the heat. The good news is that being aware of the symptoms and knowing how to prevent them is simple and means you will be able to enjoy yourself all season.
Know when you are in hot water.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion can vary depending on your activity level. Cramps, heavy sweating, and feeling very tired and thirsty are all signs that your body is stressed from heat.1
Other signs of heat exhaustion can include:
- Dizziness or feeling weak or confused
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fast heartbeat
- Cool, moist skin
- Dark-colored urine, a sign of dehydration 1,2
It is important to address these symptoms as soon as possible to avoid heatstroke. Furthermore, you should call 9-1-1 immediately if you think someone is showing signs of shock, seems confused, has a seizure, has a fever over 102°F, is breathing rapidly, has a rapid pulse or loses consciousness.1,3
Beat the heat.
Once you realize you have symptoms of heat exhaustion it’s important to get out of the heat as soon as possible. Find a cool spot to put your feet up and rest! Be sure to stay hydrated and stay clear of alcohol and caffeine. Taking a cool shower or bath and applying cool compresses will also help lower your body temperature. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not subside after 30 minutes.3
Don't sweat it out.
When it comes to heat safety, staying ahead of it is key. Keep an eye on the weather, and when temperatures are high, keep these steps in mind:
- Take it easy and avoid intense activities.
- Stay inside during peak sun time. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.4
- Cool down at the library or mall if you don’t have AC at home.
- Dress appropriately, and wear lightweight, breathable clothes in light colors.
- Block the sun with a hat or umbrella.
- Cool your car down by running the AC before you get in.
- Hydrate with water and stay nourished with small meals throughout the day.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Do not take salt tablets unless instructed to do so by your healthcare professional.1,2,3
Some people are more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke: children, older adults, and people who are obese, ill, exercising vigorously, or not used to the heat or high humidity.1 Keeping a close eye on those who are most affected by the heat and making sure they are taking proper precautions could help prevent a serious situation.
Similarly, certain allergy, blood pressure, seizure drugs and medicines for mental health conditions may also make a person be at a higher risk for heatstroke. Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of the medications you or your loved ones take may put them at risk.
Health Mart, caring for you and about you.
- MedlinePlus: Heat emergencies. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000056.htm. Accessed 5-23-16.
- Familydoctor.org: Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/staying-healthy/first-aid/heat-exhaustion-an-heatstroke.printerview.all.html. Accessed 5-23-16.
- Healthy Roads Media: Heat Waves. Available at: https://healthreach.nlm.nih.gov/documents/EngHeatWaves.pdf. Accessed 5-23-16.
- FDA: Sun Protection. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/Tanning/ucm116445.htm. Accessed 5-23-16.
Posted on Wed, July 6, 2016
by Alex McManus