Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

Stay Safe in the Heat PosterHeat related illnesses are no joke and prevention is key in order to avoid health problems during extremely hot temperatures.

Be smart about outdoor activities.  Toughness has nothing to do with protecting yourself against the heat and sun. You are not a wimp if you take water breaks, wear sunscreen, and limited your time outside…in fact you are staying healthy!

If you cannot avoid being outdoors, make sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Wear sunscreen and light colored clothing
  • Do your outside work early in the day

If your home does not have air conditioning go to a community cooling center to get a break from the heat. Missouri has established cooling centers for individuals needing relief from the hot weather.

Click here to see a map of Missouri cooling centers.

Kirksville has two cooling centers.


Kirksville Cooling Center Sites

Fjeld Arms Senior Center-2016 N Florence Place, Kirksville Missouri

Village 76 Senior Center-100 Valley Forge Drive, Kirksville Missouri


Sometimes heat related illness can come on very quickly. People may not know until it is too late that they have symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  You should be aware of the signs and symptoms of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke so that treatment can be started immediately.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.

Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, heat exhaustion is preventable.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise. Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:

  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion

If you think you’re experiencing heat exhaustion:

  • Stop all activity and rest
  • Move to a cooler place
  • Drink cool water or sports drinks

Contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don’t improve within one hour. Seek immediate medical attention if your body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.

Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.

Symptoms of Heatstroke

  • High body temperature. A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
  • Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
  • Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel moist.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Headache. Your head may throb.

Treatment for Heatstroke

If you think a person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number.

Take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.

  • Get the person into shade or indoors.
  • Remove excess clothing.
  • Cool the person with whatever means available — put in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray with a garden hose, sponge with cool water, fan while misting with cool water, or place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.

 


Stay Cool – Stay Safe

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