Did you know that in the United States more people die because of heat than by freezing to death? In fact, excessive heat is the leading weather-related cause of death in the U.S.
Heat stroke is the most serious. It happens when the body can’t control its temperature. The symptoms are similar to an actual stroke: confusion, throbbing headache, dizziness, slurred speech, low blood pressure, blue nails and lips, clammy skin, hallucinations, chill. To help, call 911 and move the victim to a shady spot. Wet them down with water or fan them.
Heat exhaustion can be caused by depletion of either water or salt and is caused by extreme sweating. Body temperature rises to 104 degrees and sweating decreases. Symptoms include excessive thirst, headache, and weakness. Prevent heat exhaustion by using sports drinks that contain electrolytes. If someone has heat exhaustion: move them to a cool, shaded place; remove any tight clothing; if the person is conscious, given them fluids; use a fan or an ice-towel to cool them; consult a physician.
Heat cramps are muscle spasms often triggered by working out in the heat. The cramps can affect any muscle group. If you suspect you’re having heat cramp: rest and cool down; drink clear juice or a sports drink containing electrolytes; stretch gently and massage the affected area; don’t resume your exercise routine until cramps are gone; call the doctor if cramps last more than an hour.
If you’re faithfully using sunblock to prevent skin cancer, you don’t have to worry too much about sunburn. Just in case, though, if you do get sunburn: try a cool bath or shower; avoid products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or petroleum; if you have blisters, try dry bandages to prevent infection; if you don’t have blisters, you can use moisturizing cream; adults (but not children) can use ibuprofen for pain relief; cortisone creams can relieve inflammation.
Stay safe out there!