(KTXL) — With temperatures increasing over the course of the summer, several national government agencies warn people to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat cramps.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat-related illnesses happen when the body is not able to cool itself during extreme heat. When the body does not cool itself by sweat, body temperature will rise faster than it can cool itself down.
Older adults, young children, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at the highest risk of heat-related illnesses, according to the CDC. However, even those who are perfectly healthy can be affected if they get involved in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
According to the CDC, the symptoms of heat exhaustion can include heavy sweating, cold, pale, clammy skin, nausea, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, a headache, or fainting.
The CDC also says that heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke and that any bystanders should act fast. When a person has heat exhaustion, they should move to a cooler area, loosen their clothing and sip cool water. If symptoms do not improve, or you start throwing up, you should seek medical help immediately, according to the CDC.
As for heat stroke, the CDC warns people that it can cause death or permanent disability if emergency action is not taken. Heat stroke tends to be more serious due to the long-lasting effects it may have.
Heat stroke has very similar symptoms compared to heat exhaustion with dizziness, confusion, and even becoming unconscious. More clarifying symptoms include a high body temperature, fast strong pulse, and hot, red, dry, or damp skin.
If a person has a heat stroke, they or people nearby should call 911, move the person to a cooler area, loosen their clothing, and cool down with water and ice. The most important thing to remember when helping a person suffering from heat stroke is to not give them something to drink.
Heat cramps can be identified by heavy sweating during intense exercise and muscle pains or spasms. If a person has heat cramps, they should stop any physical activity and move to a cool place, drink water or a sports drink, and wait for the cramps to go away before resuming physical activity. The CDC advises getting medical help if cramps last longer than an hour, if they are on a low sodium diet or if they have heart problems.
The CDC advises that people stay in an airconditioned area during excessive heat and plan outdoor activities for the coolest times of the day. They also remind people to always wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and pace themselves on hot days.
To stay cool during excessive heat, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, use the oven less, avoid heavy or hot meals, and schedule outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day. The CDC also advises to stay in air-conditioning as much as possible, being in air conditioning for just a few hours can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
The CDC reminds people that electric fans may provide comfort but they will not prevent heat-related illnesses. Staying in air conditioning or taking a cool shower will help you cool off.
It is important during excessive heat days to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Stay away from sugary or alcoholic drinks because they can take fluid from your body and make you more dehydrated. Replace salt and minerals that are lost during sweating by drinking a sports drink.
Always check for updates for heat alerts, cooling centers in the area, and other safety tips during excessive heat days. It is also important to stay informed by knowing the signs and symptoms of a heat-related illness as well as monitoring those at high risk.
The US National Weather Service warns that pets can suffer from heat effects. During days with excessive heat, it is important to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed.