Prevent Heat Exhaustion

Environmental Protection Agency released Excessive Heat Event Guidebook this month. Once our flooding rainy weather gives way to the summer humid heat again, here is the information you need to know!

People especially at risk are over 65, infants under 1year of age, the homeless, the poor, and socially isolated people, those with mobility restrictions, on certain medications like high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, those exercising vigorously or working outdoors, those consuming alcohol.

Here are symptoms to watch:

Heat stroke: altered mental state, possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, 106 F or higher body temperature, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness, possible hot and dry skin, sweating. You must get to hospital immediately. A delay may be fatal.

Heat exhaustion: heavy sweating, weakness, cool skin, pale. Normal temperature possible. Other possible symptoms:: muscle cramps, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, nausea. Get out of sun,  apply cool wet cloths, sip water, if nausea starts, discontinue water intake, if vomiting continues, seek medical attention.

Heat cramps: painful muscle cramps and spasms (usually legs and abdomen), heavy sweating. Apply pressure/massage to relieve the cramps; give sips of water, if nausea starts, discontinue water intake.

On hot summer days, bear these in mind:

  • Avoid dark color, heavy, tight clothes or clothes that expose a lot of skin
  • Stay hydrated, especially when involved in outdoor activities
  • When using alcohol, know that it limits the needed perspiration, and your awareness of need of hydration, so limit your exposure to sun and heat outdoors
  • Avoid heavy meals, especially high protein, as this will increase metabolism and body heat that needs to be dissipated
  • The more elevated the housing, the higher the heat, so use fans, air conditioning, and plenty of water to drink

(Summary by Kasia Kines, MS, CN, CNS, LDN. Kasia is a nutritionist at Your Prescription for Health 888-794-4325)

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