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Heat Related Health Risks

May 8, 2019

With summer coming soon we’re all excited to get outside more. However, nicer weather brings the heat leaving many with additional health risks. Certain risk factors leave people more likely to suffer from heat related problems. Some of these health related factors include:

  • Lung, heart and kidney diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin changes that occur with age like insufficient sweat glands and poor blood circulation
  • Reduced sweating caused by medications
  • Being overweight or underweight

In the summer everyone is susceptible to heat related illnesses, but people with the above risk factors even more so. Here are some of the heat related illness to watch for and when to get help.

Dehydration
What is it: A water loss in the body, which if not treated can be serious.
Warning Signs: Headache, weakness, dizziness, muscle cramps, confusion and passing out.
What to do: Call your doctor or 911. In the meantime drink plenty of water or sports drinks with electrolytes.

Heat Exhaustion
What is it: A serious health issue caused by dehydration and too much heat which if left untreated can lead to heat stroke (below).
Warning Signs: Tiredness, muscle cramps, heavy or no sweating, weakness, clammy skin, paleness, dizziness, vomiting or nausea, headache, weak or fast pulse, fainting.
What to do: If you have heart problems or high blood pressure call 911. Relocate to a cool and shady place, and drink plenty of cold water or sports drinks. If you still don’t feel better call 911.

Heat Syncope
What is it: Fainting caused by high temperatures.
Warning Signs: Fainting or dizziness.
What to do: Lay down and put your feet up, drink lots of cold water or sports drinks.

Heat Stroke
What is it: A dangerous rise in body temperature which can be deadly.
Warning Signs: Red, hot and dry skin, body temperature of 103 or higher, fast pulse, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, confusion and passing out.
What to do: Call 911 immediately. Move to a cool and shady place and take off any heavy clothing. Try to lower your body temperature by soaking with cold water around your wrists, ankles, armpits and neck.

We hope you all stay safe and enjoy the summer!

*Note: These are only guidelines; we are not providing medical advice. Talk to your healthcare provider for information on your condition.