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PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HEAT EXHAUSTION

By mirna chamorro

September 11, 2014

Orlando - The Florida Department of Health in Orange and Seminole Counties are urging residents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Among the most susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions and people working or exercising in hot weather.

“Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stress especially if you work outdoors or in hot environments. Families should also be cautious when enjoying outdoor activities, making sure the children stay hydrated,” said Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Officer for the Department of Health in Seminole County.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness/confusion, nausea, clammy/moist skin, pale or flushed complexion, muscle cramps, slightly elevated body temperature and fast/shallow breathing. Symptoms of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature above 106ºF, hot and dry skin, profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, confusion/dizziness and/or slurred speech.

The following are important heat exhaustion/heat stroke prevention tips:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages
  • Get lots of rest
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Seek an air-conditioned location when possible
  • Wear lightweight and light colored clothing
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities 

“Citizens are also encouraged to be good neighbors and check up on elderly or shut-in neighbors, transporting those with signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke to an air-conditioned location. In the event of an emergency, dial 911 immediately,” said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.  

 Heat exhaustion and heat stroke become more common in very humid environments. High humidity reduces the effectiveness of sweating and cooling the body. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. 

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/