Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, however, many people still suffer from extreme heat. People undergo heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to properly cool themselves.
Extreme heat is defined as summertime temperatures that are increasingly hotter and/or more humid than average for location and time of year.
What follows are some of the common concerns associated with extreme heat and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones.
For guidance on when to cancel and indoor event or move indoors, see Guidance Outdoor Activities in Excessive Heat.
Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. During a heat stroke, the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails and the body is unable to cool down. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.
Recognizing Heat Stroke
If you see any of these signs, have someone call for immediate medical assistance.
Heat exhaustion can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate replacement of fluids. The result is heat exhaustion which is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt that comprises sweat. Those prone to heat exhaustion are the elderly, people with high blood pressure and people working or exercising in a hot environment.
Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
Seek medical attention is any of these symptoms are severe.
Heat cramps tend to affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. Such sweating reduces the body's salt and moisture levels. Low salt levels are usually the cause of heat cramps along with a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Recognizing Heat Cramps
What to Do During Heat Cramps
Sunburns should be avoided because they can damages to the skin. Most sunburns are considered to be mild but a more severe sunburn may require medical attention.
The skin becomes:
What to Do For a Sunburn
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot and/or humid weather. Heat rash is especially common in young children.
Recognizing Heat Rash
Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It generally occurs on the neck, upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts or in elbow creases.
Treating heat rash does not typically require medical assistance.
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