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Too Hot to Handle: Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses

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Too Hot to Handle: Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses

As temperatures continue to climb, it’s important to be aware of the health risks associated with extreme heat.


Overheating can cause a variety of problems, ranging in severity from uncomfortable to life-threatening. The best way to prevent heat-related illnesses is to learn what causes them and take steps to cool off if you start to overheat. Here’s what you need to know: 

Heat cramps are painful, involuntary muscle spasms that usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments.    

  • Heavy sweating 

  • Muscle pain or spasms 


  • Move to a cool place and take a break from physical activity. 

  • Drink water or a sports drink to rehydrate and replenish your electrolytes. 

  • Seek medical attention if cramps last longer than an hour. 

Heat exhaustionoccurs when the body overheats and can’t cool itself down. 


  • Fast, weak pulse 

  • Cold, pale, clammy skin 

  • Dizziness or fainting 

  • Nausea or vomiting 


  • Move to a cool place. 

  • Loosen clothing and apply cool cloths to skin. 

  • Sip water. 

  • Seek medical attention if symptoms last for more than an hour or get worse. 

Heatstrokeoccurs when the body’s temperature is 104ºF or higher. It can be a life-threatening medical emergency and if you experience any of the symptoms below, contact 911.   


  • Fast, strong pulse 

  • Headache or dizziness 

  • Unconsciousness  

  • Confusion 


  • Call 911 right away. 

  • Do not give the person anything to drink. 

  • Move to a cool place and apply cool cloths to the skin. 

 Visit the CDC website to learn more about heat safety.  



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