Guard against heat-related illness

Jay FitzOur Town Health

In the midst of summer, the sun shines brightly as the northern hemisphere of the Earth is closest to the sun. July is UV Safety Month, and it’s important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can occur to anyone overexerting themselves in high temperatures when the body cannot cool down. Certain individuals, such as infants, children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure, are at a higher risk of heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • A fast, weak pulse
  • Excessive sweating
  • Breathlessness

To relieve these symptoms, move into the shade or air conditioning to cool off. Drink sports drinks or cold water to rehydrate. Within an hour or two, you should start feeling better. If not, seek medical attention.

If you don’t take action to cool down your body during heat exhaustion, it can escalate to heat stroke.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be life-threatening. Individuals exhibiting signs of heat stroke should be moved into the shade or air conditioning and wet compresses should be applied while help is called. Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Hot and dry skin
  • A fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures

Ways to Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

  • Avoid heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke by:
  • Staying hydrated. Drink plenty of water and sports drinks while exposed to high temperatures and humidity.
  • Dress in light colored, lightweight clothing and use hats and sunscreen to protect your body.
  • Limit outdoor activity and exercise during the hottest points of the day.
  • Rest in shaded or air-conditioned areas.
  • Use cold compresses or cold showers to cool off after exposure.

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