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What is a Heat-Related Illness?

What is a Heat-Related Illness?

Understanding Heat-Related Illnesses

With the summer heat hitting peak temperatures for the season, the risk of experiencing heat-related illnesses are also at an all-time high. Fortunately, they are entirely preventable. Read on to learn more about the warning signs of each and what you can do to stay safe in the summer weather.

Most Common Heat-related Illnesses

Heat Stroke

Heatstroke is the most serious heat-related illness that can happen as it can affect the brain and cause severe damage. Heatstroke occurs when your body’s internal temperature rises at a rapid rate, reaching temperatures of 106°F or higher within a 10 to 15-minute window. This is because your body’s ability to cool itself down with sweat has failed, allowing your temperature to skyrocket.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Fainting or losing consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Extremely high body temperature

It is important to note that experiencing a heat stroke can potentially become fatal if it is not addressed immediately. If you think you or someone around you is having a heat stroke, call 911 or head to the emergency room.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion happens when your body loses an excessive amount of water and salt. During hot temperatures, this is usually due to sweating profusely in an attempt to cool down your body. Unfortunately, if you are exposed to sweltering temperatures, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion typically include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Thirst
  • High body temperature
  • Excessive sweating
  • Urinating less

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps typically affect those doing strenuous activities, especially in hot temperatures or environments. When you lose a lot of salt through sweating, it can cause cramping in your muscles. You may be having heat cramps if you experience the pain or muscle spasms in the arms, legs, or abdominal area.

Prevention Tips

During the summertime, it is essential to pay attention to your body and keep your body cool and hydrated to prevent heat-related illness from arising effectively. Follow these tips to help you stay cool:

  • Stay in cool, air-conditioned spaces as often as possible.
  • Avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight.
  • Schedule outdoor activities before 12 pm or after 4 pm to avoid the afternoon’s peak temperatures.
  • Drink water frequently throughout the day, especially during physical activity.
  • Drink sports drinks to replenish salt and other minerals.
  • Wear appropriate, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Listen to your body, and take it easy if you feel tired.

When to Seek Help

If your symptoms persist or become severe, and you believe you should seek immediate care, the Walk-in Clinic in Gillette, Wyoming, is here to help. When it comes to urgent care, each patient can expect us to help them get back to life with quality care and personalized service. Save your spot in line or walk-in today! Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/wic.