It's Getting Hot in Here!
Being active outdoors in the summer can be enjoyable for the entire family. But…as the warmer months like July and August come along it is important to take precaution with the heat. While heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, many people still succumb to illness caused by extreme heat each year. In addition to the actual air temperature and a person’s underlying health issues, environmental factors, such as humidity, can contribute to hyperthermia, as can strenuous physical activities in hot conditions. Buildings and other parts of the man-made environment can also increase the health risks of heat waves.
Heat exhaustion is a condition that is a result of the body overheating. It's one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe. Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, heat exhaustion is preventable!
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. The condition is most common in the summer months. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment! Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.
- High body temperature
- Altered mental state or behavior
- Alteration in sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Racing heart rate
When to See a Doctor
If you think you're experiencing heat exhaustion::
- Stop all activity and rest
- Move to a cooler place
- Drink cool water or sports drinks
If you think a person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number. Take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.
- Get the person into shade or indoors
- Remove excess clothing
- Cool the person down with water means available!
- Spray them with a garden hose
- Sponge with cool water
- Fan while misting with cool water
- Place ice packs or cold/wet towles on the person's head, neck, armpits, and groin