Health Matters | Beat the Heat

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Beat the Heat

The summer swelter has arrived as temperatures and humidity rise. This increases health risks as you work and play outside, especially for older people and young children.

Excessive heat exposure can cause several health problems including heat cramps, which are painful spasms of your arm, leg, or abdomen muscles. People experiencing these symptoms should rest in a cooler place and drink water or fluids containing electrolytes.

Heat exhaustion is a common, though potentially life-threatening, heat-related illness. The signs of heat exhaustion often begin very suddenly after spending time outdoors performing a strenuous activity. Symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Cool, moist, pale skin
  • Cramps
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid, weak heartbeat

If someone exhibits symptoms of heat exhaustion, it is important to get that person out of the sun – preferably into an air-conditioned room. Provide cool water to drink, remove any excess clothing, and have him or her lie down. If symptoms do not improve, seek medical help.

How can you avoid heat-related illnesses?

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing made of breathable material, like cotton.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity on hot days.
  • If you must be outside, take frequent breaks in a cool place. Air-conditioning is the single best way to protect against heat-related illness. If you do not have air-conditioning at home during extreme heat, try to spend time in air-conditioned locations such as a shopping mall, public library, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelter in your area.




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