Know the Signs of Heat Illness and What to Do

Summer has been a scorcher this year with temperatures in Dallas reaching August norms in June. School is starting soon, but the heat will remain high. What’s more, when it’s combined with high humidity, the impact of the heat is pushed to dangerous levels.

“Extreme heat is still upon us. The weather forecast indicates we will continue to experience temperatures at or over 100 degrees for some time. Please take care of yourself and others when doing anything outside. One way to do that is to know the signs of heat-related illnesses,” said Crystal Conwell, RN, trauma coordinator and EMS liaison at White Rock Medical Center. “Above all else, heat stroke is a medical emergency. Know when to seek medical help so that you and your loved ones are safe.”

If you do spend time outside, stay hydrated by drinking water, taking frequent breaks from the sun and heat, and seek shade when you can, she added.

Heat exhaustion

What to look for:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Pale, cool, clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

What to do:

  • Move to a cooler place
  • Loosen clothing
  • Lower temperature with a cool cloth or cool bath
  • Slowly sip water

Heat stroke

What to look for:

  • High body temperature (103 degrees or more)
  • Hot, red dry or damp skin
  • Fast pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Losing consciousness

What to do:

  • Call 911 right away. Heat stroke is a medical emergency!
  • Move inside or to a cooler place
  • Lower temperature with a cool cloth or cool bath (not cold)
  • Do not give anything to drink

“Heat stroke is a serious condition and requires medical attention. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away if you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke or if their condition is not improving after time spending time inside away from the heat,” added Conwell.