Preventing Heat-related Illnesses

Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. With summer starting, we want to reach those most vulnerable to extreme heat events and prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Please share this important information!

Know the Warning Signs

Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Here is how you can recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do:

Heat ExhaustionWhat you should do
Heavy sweatingMove to a cooler location.
WeaknessLie down and loosen your clothing.
Cold, pale,
clammy skin
Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
Fast, weak pulseSip water.
Nausea/vomiting, faintingIf you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
Heat StrokeWhat you should do
High body temperature (above 103°F)Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency.
Hot, red, dry or moist
Move the person to a cooler environment.
Rapid and strong pulseReduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
Do NOT give fluids.

Heat and low income

  • If you have air conditioning, use it to keep your home cool.
  • If you can’t afford to use your air conditioning:
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor, and have someone do the same for you.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness.

Article adapted from the Oregon Health Authority Health Security, Preparedness and Response Extreme Heat website. Info-graphic from Driving Healthy.

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