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revised July 26, 2007

Heat and Humidity

Arrow BulletHeat Related Illnesses

  • People suffer heat-related illnesses when their body temperature rises rapidly and they are unable to properly cool themselves.
  • Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.

Know These Heat Disorder Symptoms:

Heat Disorder


First Aid


Over exposure of the skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays found in sunlight


  • Redness and pain
  • In severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches
  • Leave water blisters intact to speed healing and avoid infection
  • If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing
  • Serious cases should be seen by a physician

Heat Cramps:

A form of muscle cramps brought on by exertion and insufficient salt

  • Painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs but possible in abdomen
  • Heavy sweating
  • Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles
  • Massage muscle in spasm gently
  • Give sips of water
  • If nausea occurs, discontinue sips of water

Heat Exhaustion:

Excessive water loss

hurt and sweating

  • Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy
  • Pulse thready
  • Fainting and vomiting
  • Core temperature usually 38.8 Celsius or higher, but normal temperature possible
  • Get person out of sun
  • Move person to a cooler environment
  • Lay person down and loosen clothing
  • Apply cool wet cloths
  • Give sips of water
  • If nausea occurs, discontinue sips of water
  • If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention

Heat Stroke or Sunstroke:

Failure of body’s heat controlling mechanisms


This is an EMERGENCY!

  • High body temperature (41 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • Hot, dry skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness
  • If conscious, mental status could range from:  incoherent speech, disoriented, confused, can be aggressive
  • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency
  • Get medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately
  • Delay can be fatal
  • If unable to get victim to professional help immediately, do the following:

Get person out of sun
Move the person to a cooler environment/air conditioned room
Remove outer clothing
Reduce body temperature with lukewarm bath or sponging
Do not give fluids

Source: National Weather Service Internet Weather Source, Current Weather - "Know These Heat Disorder Symptoms"


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Revised: July 26, 2007


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