Hot Weather Safety
Excess exposure to high temperatures, or performing strenuous activities during hot weather may result in life-threatening heat related illness...
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Hot Weather Safety
a long winter, many people look forward to spending time outdoors in the summer
warmth. But excessive exposure to high temperatures and humidity, or performing
strenuous activities during hot weather, may result in life-threatening heat-related
illnesses. As with cold weather exposure, the elderly and young are most at
risk. However, anyone can succumb to high heat exposure.
Two common hot-weather health emergencies are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Heat stroke occurs when the body loses its ability to
regulate its internal temperature. The sweating mechanism (the body’s way of
cooling itself) shuts down, and the body temperature rapidly rises—as high as
106ºF or more. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
skin with absence of sweating
stroke is a medical emergency. Medical help must be sought immediately, while
efforts are taken to cool the person. These include moving him or her to a
shady area and lowering the body temperature with cool (but not cold) water.
This should be applied to the body with a sponge, wet towels, or sheets.
Monitor the person’s temperature until medical help arrives. If the person has
nausea, is vomiting, or is unconscious, do not attempt to give fluids.
exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness than heat stroke. It
develops more slowly, and may occur after several days of heat exposure and
inadequate fluid replacement. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
not treated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. If symptoms are
severe or the person has a heart condition, medical attention should be
summoned while cooling efforts begin. Cool the body as you would do for heat
stroke, and offer cool, nonalcoholic beverages to drink. If symptoms persist
longer than an hour, seek medical treatment.
How to Stay Safe in Extreme Heat
illness is preventable. Here’s what to do to stay safe in hot weather:
- Listen to weather reports for heat advisories. Stay indoors, ideally in air
conditioning, as much as possible and during the afternoon when temperatures
are at their highest. People older than 65 who are at high risk for
heat-related illnesses should be especially mindful..
- Dress for the weather in lightweight, light-colored,
loose clothing. Cover
as much skin as possible with proper clothing and a hat, or use an umbrella. Apply
sunscreen with an SPF of at least
15, and continue to apply it according to label directions.
- Eat lighter meals; heavy meals can increase your core body
- Save strenuous outdoor activities for the cooler
morning hours, if at all
- Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Increase your fluid intake, even
if you’re inactive. If you are working or playing outdoors, you need to consume
two to four glasses of water every hour. If you sweat, some of this fluid can
come from sports beverages, which will help to replace salt and minerals lost
through sweat. (Those who are on fluid or salt restrictions
should consult a medical professional for advice about fluid replacement and
- Learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you recognize early symptoms of
heat-related illness in yourself or another person, move indoors or at least to
a shady area, drink cool fluids, and rest.
Linda Hepler, RN
Medically Reviewed by:
Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH
Jul 20, 2011
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.