Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, yet hundreds of people die annually from extreme heat in the U.S. Dr. William S. Paul from the Metro Public Health Department joined us on a recent episode of Community Health Matters to discuss how to stay cool and safe when temperatures rise. View his segment here.
In the summertime, many people want to be outside soaking in the sun. However prolonged exposure to heat can be dangerous without taking proper precautions. Whenever possible, limit your time outdoors during the hottest part of the day. It’s also important to take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water while you’re out in the sunshine.
Even when taking precautions, some people are especially vulnerable to extreme heat, like the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, homeless individuals, and people with a chronic medical condition. When exposed to high temperatures, they can fall victim to heat exhaustion or, in extreme cases, heat stroke. Learning how to spot the warning signs of each can help save a life.
A few symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale and clammy skin
- Weak pulse
- Fainting and vomiting
If someone progresses beyond heat exhaustion to heat stroke, their case is classified as a medical emergency. Some warning signs of heat stroke include:
- Extremely high body temperature – above 103° F
- Red, hot and dry skin
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
- Nausea, dizziness
- Possible unconsciousness
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately. And if you have friends, family or neighbors at high risk for heat exhaustion, it’s recommended to check on them at least twice a day.
Visit CDC.gov/extremeheat to learn more about how you can stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed about heat safety.