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Heat Related Health Risks

May 8, 2019

Summer is coming soon and we’re all excited to get outside more. The nicer weather brings heat, leaving many with additional health risks. There are certain risk factors which leave people more susceptible to heat related problems. Some of these health related risk 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 prone 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 loss of water 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 (more 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. Move yourself 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 excess clothing. Try to lower your body temperature by soaking 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.

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