Recognition and extra precautions are needed to prevent heat illnesses

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Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 9:41 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - It only takes one time forgetting one of these heat safety tips to turn a day upside down.

With heat indices hitting the triple digits soon, the Alabama Department of Public Health advises the public to be alert to the warning signs of heat illnesses. Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is exposed to high temperatures. The effect of these illnesses hits expectedly during hotter conditions and anyone exposed to high temperatures or extreme heat can experience symptoms when the body’s internal cooling system is compromised.

The most common heat-related illnesses are as follows:

· Heat cramps

· Heat exhaustion

· Heat stroke

Heat cramps– include muscle pains or spasms (abdomen, arms or legs), profuse sweat, and high salt concentration in the sweat.

Heat exhaustion– is associated with heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, or vomiting and fainting. Other possible symptoms may include cool and moist skin, fast and weak pulse rate, fast and shallow breathing, or irritability. Older adults, those with high blood pressure. and those working or exercising outside are prone to heat exhaustion. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it could become heatstroke.

Heat stroke or sun stroke – the most serious heat-related illness, a life-threatening problem, may occur when the body is unable to control its temperature. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees F or higher within 10 -15 minutes. Signs include an extremely high body temperature, red, hot and dry or moist skin, rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, dehydration, combativeness or confusion, and unconsciousness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and even with immediate treatment, it can be life-threatening or cause serious long-term problems.

Recommendations are that people drink plenty of fluids except alcohol or caffeinated beverages to prevent dehydration, stay in an air-conditioned room, keep out of the sun by seeking shelter, wear a wide-brimmed hat, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, take cool showers or baths, and reduce or eliminate strenuous activities during the hottest times of the day.

Individuals that are immunocompromised, younger, or older, are at greater risk of becoming ill in hot weather.

For more information, visit HERE.

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