Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness

Image Source: Charles Chen/Unsplash

Are you prepared to handle the heat this summer? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines extreme heat as summertime temperatures that are much hotter and humid than average. As a result, heat-related illnesses occur. Stay safe this summer by knowing how to prevent, recognize and cope with heat-related illnesses.1

What is Heat-Related Illness?

Heat-related illnesses happen when a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down.1 Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a heat-related illness:1

  • High levels of humidity
  • Obesity
  • Prescription drug use
  • Dehydration
  • Poor circulation

Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Know the signs and symptoms to protect you or a loved one:

  1. Heat Stroke: This is the most serious heat-related illness. When it occurs, the body temperature can rise to 105°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.2
    • What to look for: Body temperature of 103°F or higher, hot or damp skin, nausea, confusion and passing out.1
    • What to do: Call 911 immediately, do not give the person anything to drink, help lower body temperature with a cool bath or cloths.1
  2. Heat Exhaustion: This happens after the body loses an excessive amount of water and salt, typically through excessive sweating.2
    • What to look for: Cold and pale skin, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache and weakness.1
    • What to do: Move to a cool place, loosen your clothes, sip water. Get medical help if you are throwing up or your symptoms last longer than an hour.1
  3. Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are caused by sweating that depletes the body’s salt and moisture levels.2
    • What to look for: Muscle spasms, muscle pain and heavy sweating during intense exercise.1
    • What to do: Stop any physical activity and drink water. Seek medical help if cramps last longer than an hour or if you have heart problems.2
  4. Heat Rash: Heat rash is a skin irritation from excessive sweating during hot weather.1
    • What to look for: Red clusters of small blisters on the skin.1
    • What to do: Stay in a cool, dry place and use baby powder to soothe the rash.1

For more information on heat-related illnesses check out this infographic.

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Here are three things to remember to help prevent heat-related illnesses:

  1. Stay Cool: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. Additionally, try and limit your outdoor activity when it is extremely hot outside.3
  2. Stay Hydrated: Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink something. Even if you are not active, drink plenty of fluids.3
  3. Stay Informed: Check out your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.html
  2. Heat Stress Related Illness | NIOSH | CDC
  3. Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness | Natural Disasters and Severe Weather | CDC

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