Heat Illness: Know the Warning Signs

thirsty
The best way to prevent heat illness is to drink plenty of water. Photo: Michael Bentley via flickr cc.

You don’t need a weather forecaster to tell you it’s hot outside. Whether it feels like you’re draped in a wet heating blanket every time you step outside, or you’re dealing with a dry heat, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s hot. Very hot, in some places.

Now that high temps are here for a while, it’s important to know the signs of heat illness and some important safety tips to deal with the heat. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be deadly.

 

Cool Off
Want to stay cool? Pour water over yourself, soak your shirt or even run through sprinklers to provide instant air conditioning. Photo: Victori∀ via flickr cc.
  • Extremely high body temperature.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating).
  • Nausea, dizziness, confusion.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Throbbing headache.
  • Seizures.
  • Rapid, strong pulse.

So, how can you prevent heat illness? The best ways to stay safe in the heat are to drink plenty of water and take shade when you need to. Keep in mind, asphalt or concrete can be 10-15 degrees hotter than the air temperature, and they continue to radiate heat even after the sun goes down.

Stay in the shade as much as possible; it can make the temperature feel as much as 15 degrees lower. Photo: friggy_30 via flickr cc.
Stay in the shade as much as possible; it can make the temperature feel as much as 15 degrees lower. Photo: friggy_30 via flickr cc.

If you start to feel the signs of heat illness or notice others showing these symptoms, stop what you’re doing immediately. If you or someone around you exhibits any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately.

  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin
  • Very high body temperature

These are warning signs of heat stroke, and the person needs help immediately. Your quick actions can save a life!