One thing that many Texans can’t get used to is the summer heat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year. Those who are considered to be at high risk of a heat-related illness are people 65 years old and older, children younger than 2 years old and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.
Continue reading to find out how to spot the differences between a heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and what to do in case you or someone else is experiencing symptoms.
A person can experience heat exhaustion after several days of being exposed to high temperatures and not replenishing their fluids adequately. The warning signs of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE HAS HEAT EXHAUSTION
To cool the body down during a heat exhaustion, the CDC suggests drinking cool beverages, taking a cool shower, moving to an air conditioned space, and rest.
Heat strokes can occur when the body can’t control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Heat strokes are the most serious heat-related illness because they can cause death or permanent disability if not treated immediately. The warning signs of a heat stroke include: extremely high body temperature (above 103°F), red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), a rapid and strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE IS HAVING A HEAT STROKE
Call 911 immediately! Move them to a cool place and try to lower their temperature with wet cloths or cool water until help has arrived.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS
- Schedule workouts and outdoor activities either earlier or later in the day when the temperature is a little cooler.
- If you’re going outside with a buddy, make sure to check on each other regularly.
- When you’re outside make sure to wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
- Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Don’t forget about your pets! They should also have fresh drinking water and not be exposed to high heat for long periods of time. Leave fresh water bowls for your pets, and make sure to put the bowls in the shade.
- Check local news for extreme heat updates.
Remember to continue to wear your face mask when you’re going out or are interacting with others outside of your home. Make sure you wear one that is made from lightweight, breathable material. Remember, it is okay to step aside for a moment and remove it to get some fresh air. For more information on how to keep cool during the summer, please visit the CDC’s website here.