Sure, that lizard probably looks hilarious in its harness, but we already warned you not to let your guard down! The heat is attacking! Is it just garden variety summer malaise or is it dangerous heat illness?
Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, rhabdomyolysis, heat syncope (fainting), heat cramps, and heat rash. Between 1979 and 2018, over 11,000 Americans died from heat-related causes. Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be fatal, and extreme heat can also be a factor in the onset of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems.
Heat exhaustion is less severe than heat stroke, but is still a major health concern during a heat wave. It occurs when your body loses excessive water and salt through sweating. If you’re working outside in the heat, you are at high risk for heat exhaustion.
- Heavy sweating
- Elevated body temperature
- Decreased urine output
Heat exhaustion isn’t necessarily a 911 scenario, but it is an urgent care scenario. Call 911 if they are unable to travel to urgent care. To treat heat exhaustion, remove the affected person from the hot area, provide liquids and
Heat stroke is a serious physical response to excessive heat wherein the body loses its ability to cool itself. Basically, you’re so hot you can’t sweat, which is a terrifying bodily malfunction. The result is abnormally high body temperatures that often become fatal if left untreated.
- Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness (coma)
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Very high body temperature
Heat stroke is a 911 scenario, so call immediately if you think it’s heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler, shaded area, and use cooling compresses and water to provide temporary relief until help arrives.
To minimize these risks during heat waves, avoid sun exposure as much as possible and rely on cool baths, fans, and other cooling systems.
Your car effectively turns into an oven during a heat wave.
Even in mild 70°F weather, the inside of a car can reach 115°F! Since 1998, over 900 children have died in hot cars in the US. Never leave kids unattended in the car.