Heat Related Illnesses
According to Injury Facts 2017, in 2014, 244 people in the US died from exposure to excessive heat. Those numbers are not to be taken lightly as it appears that we are in for another hot summer.
For most of us, the risk of being out in the sun for too long is not a problem. However, there are some people who have to keep aware of how long they have been in the sun and make sure it isn’t for too long. People such as infants or young children, elderly, pets, people who work outdoors, athletes, people with heart or circulatory problems alcoholics and drug abusers.
After being in the sun too long, different warning signs could appear that could indicate that you need to get out of the sun. These symptoms could mean several things including Heatstroke, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Cramps.
Below is a list of those illnesses, their warning signs and what to do if you find someone with the conditions.
High body temperature (Above 104°F (40°C))
Altered mental state or behavior
Alteration in sweating
Nausea or vomiting
Racing heart rate
Move to the shade in a seated position
Call for emergency help
Humidity below 75% - spray with water
Humidity over 75% - apply ice to neck, armpit and groin
Do not give aspirin
Do not give them anything to drink
Faintness or dizziness
Nausea or vomiting
Heavy sweating often accompanied by cold, clammy skin
Weak, rapid pulse
Pale or flushed face
Weakness or fatigue
Move to a shaded or air conditioned area
Give them water
Apply wet towels or have them take a cool shower
Muscle spasms that are:
Usually self-limited (go away on their own)
Sit or lie down in shade
Drink cool water
Stretch affected muscles
Seek medical attention if it doesn’t get better in an hour
With all this information, you may be thinking you are at a loss and had better prepare to deal with these symptoms if you are outside in the heat. Actually, there are several things you can do to help avoid all of these symptoms and illnesses.
How to avoid symptoms:
Drink more liquids
Wear loose, lightweight clothing and hat
Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking sports drink
Avoid the outdoors between 11am – 3pm
Pace yourself when exercising