Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses

July 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm Leave a comment

Heat cramps

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. They usually involve the abdominal muscles or the legs.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Fluid loss causes blood flow to decrease in the vital organs, resulting in a form of shock. With heat exhaustion, sweat does not evaporate as it should.  As a result, the body does not cool properly. Signals include cool, moist, pale, flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.

Heat stroke

Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high – sometimes as high as 105oF. This late stage of a heat-related illness is life threatening. Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately.

Entry filed under: Safety.

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