This summer has been an exceptionally hot one. Many of us have been choosing our air conditioned homes over outdoor activities this year, but still, some choose (or have no choice but) to bear the heat. While summer activities are lots of fun, being in the heat for extended periods of time can be dangerous. Make yourself familiar with the following heat-related illnesses to keep you and your family safe for the rest of the summer!
Heat cramps are a mild heat-related condition usually caused by strenuous physical activity in high heat. Heat cramps can easily evolve into a more serious condition, so it’s important to drink water and move to a cooler area if you experience these symptoms:
- Muscle cramps and spasm in stomach, arms, or legs
- Clammy skin
- Excess sweating
Heat exhaustion sets in when heat cramps go unaddressed. The symptoms of heat cramps may worsen and become accompanied by:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Skin that feels cool to the touch
- Pale skin
- Increased pulse
- A fever of 100.4 degrees F or more
Heat stroke is the most extreme form of heat-related illness and can be life-threatening. During heat stroke, the body becomes overwhelmed by excessive heat and requires immediate medical attention. A person suffering from heat stroke may exhibit the symptoms of heat cramps/exhaustion as well as:
- Warm and dry skin
- Rapid breathing
- Very high fever (over 104 degrees F)
Heat-related illness is no joke, so it’s important to take action as soon as you start exhibiting even mild symptoms of heat cramps. Whether you’re working, exercising, or just relaxing in the sun, exposure to excess heat can be very dangerous. This summer, avoid being outside for long periods of time, stay hydrated, and most importantly, pay attention to your body’s warning signals. Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe!