How to Beat the Heat

Lerner & Rowe Injury Attorneys

Sun Shinning

Approaching the height of summer, with temperatures over 100 degrees, it’s more important than ever to stay safe and hydrated. Along with blazing heat comes a myriad of illnesses to watch out for, in addition to more common side-effects like fatigue and sunburn.  

Here are some symptoms of heat-related illnesses, and what you can do to treat them.

 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 right away.

 

Symptoms:

  • High body temperature (over 103F)
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Quick pulse
  • Hot or red skin
  • Damp or dry skin
  • Loss of consciousness

While waiting for medical professionals, there are a few things you can do:

  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Use cool clothes or a cool bath to lower the person’s temperature
  • Apply cool or cold compresses to the person’s armpits, neck, and groin

 

Heat Exhaustion

 

Heat exhaustion is more common, but can be incredibly serious.

 

Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Hadache
  • Quick pulse
  • Cold, pale and/or clammy skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Loss of consciousness

To treat heat exhaustion, you can:

  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen your clothes
  • Use cool, wet clothes to lower body temperature
  • Take a cool bath
  • Sip water (slowly!)

If you or anyone you know experience symptoms lasting more than 1 hour, symptoms worsen, or vomiting occurs, call 911 immediately:

 

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps happen primarily during exercise, but they’re still important to watch out for.  

 

Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms

If you notice these symptoms during your workout, stop and move to a cool place. You should also:

  • Drink water or a sports drink
  • Wait for cramps to subside before engaging in more physical activity

You should get medical help immediately if:

  • Your cramps last longer than 1 hour
  • You’re on a low-sodium diet
  • You have heart problems

 

Sunburn

Most of us have had at least one sunburn in our lifetimes, but depending on the severity, sunburns can be incredibly dangerous.

 

Symptoms:

  • Skin is painful/hurts
  • Skin is red and warm/hot
  • Skin is blistered

To treat sunburns, make sure you do the following:

  • Stay out of the sun until it heals
  • Use a cool cloth on affected areas
  • Take a cool bath
  • Use moisturizing lotion on affected areas
  • Do NOT break blisters

 

Heat Rash

Heat rash is common, and isn’t life threatening, but you should still do your best to avoid it. To avoid heat rash, stay in a cool, dry place whenever possible, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated.

 

Symptoms:

  • Small, red blisters
  • Generally in clusters
  • Often appear on the neck, groin, or in elbow creases

To treat heat rash, keep it dry, and use powder (such as baby powder) to soothe.

Prevention

Make sure you are using sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors, even on cloudy days. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and using sunscreen can help protect you from cancers, including melanoma.

Make sure your sunscreen is:

  • Broad spectrum (protects from UVA and UVB rays)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Water resistant (40-80 minutes)

You’ll generally need about 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover exposed areas.

And of course, make sure you are always hydrated!  Even if you feel fine, have a bottle of water on you at all times, and drink more than you normally would.  This can help prevent heat-related illnesses. Stay out the direct sunlight whenever possible, and find cool places to sit down if you feel fatigued.