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Heat stroke vs. heat exhaustion: Know the warning signs

Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke: What are the differences between these heat-related illnesses?

As the temperature gauge climbs, it is imperative that we not only dress in light-colored clothing, limit our outdoor adventures in direct sunlight, but also hydrate.

But what about those that have to be outside in the heat for an extended period of time?

With temperatures expected to near or hit 100 degrees the next couple of days, our body's ability to cool itself will be challenged. Here's a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illnesses common on days where these temperatures occur.

Signs of heat exhaustion

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea or cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Weakness or confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Muscle cramping
  • Dark-colored urine

Signs of heat stroke

  • Hot, red or dry skin
  • High body temperature of 103 or higher
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Losing consciousness (coma)

How to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Know your risks: your ability to cope with high temperatures depends on your central nervous system. 

Young people do not yet have a fully-developed central nervous system and older adults run the risk of a deteriorating central nervous system, which is why those age groups tend to be more at risk.

Here are some things you can do to avoid getting a heat-related illness:

Seek air conditioning: Know where you can take cover in the event that you're feeling fatigued or needing a drink of water.

Sun exposure: Protect your skin with SPF 30 lotion.

Clothing: Remember to take along a hat, loose-fitting clothing and light-colored clothing.

Where are you?: When parked in the sun, temperatures inside your vehicle can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Don't leave your pets and children in a hot car. 


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