The heat of the summer is upon us! Therefore, extreme high temperatures are not to be taken lightly. Hot weather along with high humidity, can cause heat-related illnesses which range in severity from mild heat cramps, to heat exhaustion, to a potentially life-threatening heatstroke.

Hot Stuff: Get the Facts

  • In a normal year, approximately 175 Americans die from extreme heat. Young children, elderly people, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to become victims.
  • Between 1936 and 1975, nearly 20,000 people succumbed to the effects of heat and solar radiation.
  • Because men sweat more than women, men are more susceptible to heat illness because they become dehydrated more quickly.

Heatstroke:

A potentially life-threatening, heat-related problem that often results from heavy work and dehydration. The body’s normal mechanisms for dealing with heat stress, such as sweating and temperature control, stop working. Older adults, people who are obese and people born with an impaired ability to sweat are at high risk of heatstroke.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Body temperature, generally greater than 104˚F, with changes in mental status like confusion and even coma.
  • Skin may be hot and dry, although in heatstroke caused by exertion, the skin 
is usually moist.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Rapid and shallow breathing.
  • Elevated or lowered blood pressure.
  • Sweating stops.
  • Irritability, confusion or unconsciousness.
  • Fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults.

If you suspect heatstroke:

  • Move the person into the shade or air-conditioned space.
  • Dial 9-1-1.
  • Wrap the person with damp sheets or spray them with cool water.