Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke.
Symptoms — Heat Exhaustion — May Include:
- Heavy Sweating
- Weakness Fainting, Fatigue And Cramps
- Cold, Pale, And Clammy Skin, Feeling Thirsty
- Fast, Weak Pulse
- Nausea Or Vomiting
What You Should Do:
- Move to a cooler location.
- Lie down and loosen your clothing.
- Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
- Sip water
- If the symptoms continue or worsen, seek medical attention immediately
Heatstroke is serious. Symptoms May Include:
- Confusion, Dizziness, Headache
- Trouble Breathing Rapid Strong Heartbeat, , And Changes In Blood Pressure
- Nausea, Vomiting
- High Body Temperature (Above 103°F)
- Hot, Red Flushed, Skin That Might Be Dry Or Moist Skin
- Rapid And Pulse
- Possible Unconsciousness
What You Should Do:
- Call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.
- Move the person to a cooler environment
- Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath
- Do NOT give fluids
Who is at greater risk of Heat Exhaustion:
The risk of heat-related illness increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or more. So it’s important — especially during heat waves — to pay attention to the reported heat index, and exposure to full sunshine can increase the reported heat index by 15 degrees If you live in an urban area, you may be especially prone to develop heat stroke during a prolonged heat wave, particularly if there are stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. In what is known as the “heat island effect,” asphalt and concrete store heat during the day and only gradually release it at night, resulting in higher nighttime temperatures.
Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. Here is how you can recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do:
People aged 65 years or older are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. People in this category must be given and reminded of the following information.
Kids are more susceptible to heat illnesses than adults are because their central nervous system is not yet fully developed.
- People who live in apartments or homes lacking air conditioning or good airflow
- people of any age who don’t drink enough water
- people with have chronic health conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease and medicines such as antihistamines and diuretics
- drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Engaging in Strenuous activity
- Kids are also at risk for heat illnesses if left in a hot car — even if the windows are cracked and even if it’s only for a few minutes. Never leave a child unattended in a car.
Did you know that if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated? Relying on thirst as a reminder to take a drink leaves you at risk for dehydration. So to be sure your kids are OK, look for these other signs, instead, which can indicate that a child is dehydrated: Staying hydrated in hot weather can help reduce the risk of heat-related illness. Keep water or sports drinks (with electrolytes) on hand to maintain hydration, and try to stay in a shady or air-conditioned location during the hottest parts of the afternoon.
Treatment and Prevention
- Keeping well hydrated is very important.
- Children (and adults) must remember to drink.
- Do not wait until a child says he is thirsty before offering fluids. At this point, he is already dehydrated, so be sure to provide plenty of fluids before going outside, while out in the heat and afterwards.
- Playing in the hot summer sun means lots of fluid losses, so avoid strenuous activity during peak sun hours (10 am- 6 pm). Look for shade and take lots of breaks.
- Seek medical attention immediately for any signs of heat-related illness.
- Strenuous activity and dehydration make it difficult for young bodies to regulate changes in body temperature, and chronic also increase the risk.
- According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting one blistering sunburn when you’re a kid doubles your chances of developing melanoma.
- Regardless of age and skin type (whether or not you burn easily), the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone, adults and kids alike, apply a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays every day of the year. Yes, even in winter and on cloudy days. Choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and apply it 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
- When using sunscreen, apply as much as would fill a shot glass — and if you’re using both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply sunscreen first and then repellent.
- Avoid sun exposure during peak sun hours (10 AM – 6 PM).
- Wear protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (with 99-100% UV protection).
Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care:
- Are they drinking enough water?
- Do they have access to air conditioning?
- Do they know how to keep cool?
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check the local news for health and safety updates.
- Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.