According to the Red Cross, “Young children, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, and those taking certain medications can become ill in hot, humid weather faster than healthy adults.”
There are stages of heat related illness: heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the latter being very serious. BUT, if you are exhibiting ANY of these symptoms, intervention is needed.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
The Mayo Clinic says the signs of Heat Stroke are:
- Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater
- Changes in mental status or behavior, such as confusion, agitation, slurred speech
- Hot, dry skin or heavy sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults
Call 9-1-1 immediately!
The Government of Canada say, “Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.”
In the mean time,
Move the person to a cooler location
Give the person cool water to drink in sips (The Mayo Clinic says, “Don’t give sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages to a person with heatstroke. Also avoid very cold drinks, as these can cause stomach cramps“)
Have the person loosen any tight clothing
Fan the person
Put cool water on the person’s skin
If the person’s condition is severe, put covered ice packs in each armpit and on the back of the person’s neck.
Instead of having to deal with heat exhaustion or heat stroke, do your best to prevent it from happening! Here are some tips from the Red Cross:
- Drink plenty of cool fluids — this is the most important step you can take.
- Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.
- Know the humidex rating — it combines the temperature and humidity to indicate how hot, humid weather feels to the average person.
- Wear light, loose clothing to let air circulate and heat escape and always wear a hat.
- Apply sunscreen (with SPF 15 or higher) as sunburned skin reduces the body’s ability to cool itself.
- Slow down your activities as it gets hotter and don’t work, exercise, or play for too long at a time.
- Take a lot of breaks in a cool or shady area to let your body cool off. This will help if you do need to be outside when it’s really hot.