Signs of Heat Illnesses

Heat Stroke

The most serious of heat illnesses, heat stroke, can be deadly and swift. Your body temperature could rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or more in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. Symptoms include hot, dry skin or the opposite — profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, confusion or dizziness, and slurred speech. If you see someone with the symptoms of heat stroke, immediately call 911 and move the person to a shady area. Try misting the person with cold water, soaking his or her clothes, or fanning the body.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the result of heavy sweating — extreme loss of salt and water. People prone to heat exhaustion include the elderly, those with high blood pressure, or people who work in hot conditions. Besides excessive sweating, symptoms include extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness and confusion, nausea, clammy skin, muscle cramps, and shallow, rapid breathing. If a person suffers from heat exhaustion, move him or her to a shaded or air-conditioned area. The victim should drink cool — non-alcoholic — beverages and take a cool shower or bath.

Heat Syncope

Sun-bathers may be prone to heat syncope, which is dizziness or fainting after lying (or standing) for long periods of time. Dehydration can contribute to an episode of heat syncope. If you feel dizzy after lying for a long time, sit or lie back down in a cool place and sip on a cool beverage.

Heat Cramps

Folks who work or play sports outside in the heat may suffer from heat cramps, which result from low salt levels after heavy sweating. Heat cramps usually are felt in the arms, legs, or abdomen. If you feel them, stop what you're doing, sit in a cool place, and drink clear juice or a sports beverage. Take it easy for a few hours after you no longer feel the cramps.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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