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. [i]
- 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 exhaustion occurs when the body becomes dehydrated and is unable to regulate its internal body temperature. [ii]
- Fast, weak pulse
- Cold, pale, clammy skin
- Dizziness or fainting
- Nausea or vomiting
- Move to a cool place.
- Loosen clothing & apply cool cloths to skin.
- Sip water.
- Seek medical attention if symptoms last for more than an hour or get worse.
Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature is 104ºF or higher. It can be a life-threatening medical emergency and if you experience any of the below symptoms, contact 911. [iii]
- Fast, strong pulse
- Headache or dizziness
- Call 911 right away.
- Do not give the person anything to drink.
- Move to a cool place and apply cool cloths to the skin.