Heat Related Illness How to prevent heat related illness Stay cool Stay hydrated Stay informed Heat Stroke What to look for Confusion Fainting Body temp over 104°F Hot, dry skin Nausea Rapid heartbeat Quick, shallow breathing Heat Exhaustion What to look for Heavy sweating Cold, pale, clammy skin Dizziness Weakness Headache Nausea or vomiting
Health & Wellness

Watch Out for Heat-Related Illness

By on 07/15/2021

Every year, an average of about 650 people die in the United States from illnesses related to excess heat. Illness and death can occur if your internal temperature rises so fast that the body’s sweating mechanism fails, so you can’t cool down.

Types of heat-related illness include heat exhaustion and – the most serious – heat stroke. Educating yourself about how to prevent and recognize heat-related illness can help to keep you and your loved ones safe in hot weather.

Here are answers to some common questions about heat-related illness.

Who is most at risk for serious illness from excess heat?

Some people are more likely to have problems with excess heat than others. High-risk groups include:

  • Infants and young children
  • People ages 65 or older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who overexert during work or exercise
  • People with certain conditions, especially heart disease or high blood pressure
  • People who take certain medications, such as those for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation

How can I prevent heat-related illness?

The most important way to fight heat-related illness is through prevention. During hot weather, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking these precautions:

  • Drink more fluids, whether you are active or not.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing.
  • Stay in air conditioning if possible – at home, the mall, a library or a health department shelter.
  • Stay indoors in the middle of the day, when it’s hottest.
  • Never leave people or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are partly open.
  • If you work outside with others, use a buddy system to check on each other.
  • If you exercise outdoors, rest in the shade more often than usual.
  • If  you sweat a lot, consider drinking a sports beverage to replace lost salt and minerals. (If you’re on a low-salt diet or have diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first.)

What should I do if someone has heat-related illness?

It helps to be prepared in case someone you know has symptoms of heat-related illness. See the infographic below to learn the symptoms to watch for and steps to take.

Heat Related Illness

 How to prevent heat related illness

    Stay cool
    Stay hydrated
    Stay informed

Heat Stroke

What to look for

    Confusion
    Fainting
    Body temp over 104°F
    Hot, dry skin
    Nausea
    Rapid heartbeat
    Quick, shallow breathing

What to do

    Call 911 right away - heat stroke is a medical emergency.
    Move the person to a cool place.
    Cool the person with cold, wet cloths or a cool bath.
    Do not give the person anything to drink.

Heat Exhaustion

What to look for

    Heavy sweating
    Cold, pale, clammy skin
    Dizziness
    Weakness
    Headache
    Nausea or vomiting

What to do

    Move the person to a cooler place.
    Loosen clothes.
    Cool the person with cold, wet cloths or a cool bath.
    Sip water.
    Get medical help right away if the person is throwing up or if symptoms get worse or last more than 1 hour.
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Perspectives highlights the expertise and services provided by the physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare providers at Einstein Healthcare Network. Through this blog, we share information about new treatments and technologies, top-tier clinical teams and the day-to-day interactions that reinforce our commitment to delivering quality care with compassion. Here, you will also find practical advice for championing your health and wellness. The Einstein Healthcare Network "Terms of Use" apply to all content on this blog.