Heat Disorders

Heat related disorders are illnesses that are caused by continued exposure to hot and humid environments, not drinking enough fluids, and/or your body failing to regulate its own body temperature correctly.

Heat related disorders include:

  • Heatstroke. When you cannot sweat or regulate your body temperature in an adequate way. This is very dangerous and can be life threatening. Get emergency medical help.

  • Heat exhaustion. Heavy sweating and a fast heart rate, because of overheating.

  • Heat cramps. Painful, uncontrollable muscle spasms. Can occur during heavy exercise in hot environments.

  • Sunburn. Skin becomes red and painful, after being out in the sun.

  • Heat rash. Sweat ducts become blocked, which traps sweat under the skin. Causes blisters and red bumps, and may cause an itchy or tingling feeling.

Overheating can be dangerous and life-threatening. When exercising, working, or doing other activities in hot and humid environments, do the following:

  • Stay in air conditioned places, as much as possible.

  • Wear light-weight, light colored, loose fitting clothing.

  • Drink enough water to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Take added precautions when both heat and humidity are high.

  • Rest often.

SYMPTOMS

  • Headache.

  • Nosebleed.

  • Weakness.

  • High temperatures.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Restlessness.

  • Fainting or dizziness.

  • Fast breathing and shortness of breath.

  • Excessive sweating. (There may be little or no sweating in late stages of heat exhaustion.)

  • Rapid pulse.

  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nauseous, vomiting).

  • Skin becoming cold and clammy, or excessively hot and dry.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Lie down and rest in a cool or air conditioned area. Wear minimal clothing.

  • Drink plenty of fluids without caffeine or lots of sugar. Avoid coffee, tea, alcohol or stimulants.

  • Do not take salt tablets.

  • Bathe or shower in cool water.

  • Use a fan. Add cool or warm mist to the air, if possible.

  • Monitor adults at risk at least twice a day, closely watching for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children require more frequent watching.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have a hard time breathing.

  • You vomit or pass blood in your stool.

  • You have a seizure, feel dizzy or faint, or pass out.

  • You develop severe sweating.

  • Your skin is red, hot and dry (there is no sweating).

  • You are making very little or no urine, or your urine turns a dark color or has blood in it.

  • You are unable to keep fluids down.

  • You develop chest or abdominal pain.

  • You develop a throbbing headache.

  • You develop nausea or confusion.