The Top 3 Summer Heat-Related Illnesses

heat temperature

Summer is naturally accompanied by an increase in heat-related illnesses. With temperatures rising across the country, people are heading to the pool and the beach, while clinics and emergency rooms prepare for the usual increase in heat-related visits. Here’s more about these conditions and information that will help you understand the warning signs of illness.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps can be caused by dehydration or a lack of electrolytes in the diet. The painful muscle spasms usually start in the legs, and may occur during or after exercise or physical exertion in high heat.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs in a hot environment when the body cannot properly cool itself and becomes overheated and dehydrated. The primary symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating; cold, moist skin; nausea or vomiting; and feelings of faintness, drowsiness or headache. Learn more about how to avoid dehydration.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke, the most serious heat-related illness, can cause brain damage or even death. It occurs when the body temperature reaches at least 104°F. In addition to the symptoms of heat exhaustion, a person with heat stroke may experience flushed skin, lack of sweating, confusion, slurred speech and seizures.

How to Treat Heat-Related Illness

If you or a family member is experiencing the symptoms of heat cramps or heat exhaustion, follow these tips:

  • Move to a cool place, ideally in an air-conditioned building. If indoor shelter is not available, move to a shady spot.
  • Lie down on your back with your legs elevated to get blood flowing to the heart.
  • Remove any extra clothing and make sure clothes are lightweight and loose.
  • Lower internal body temperature by applying cool, wet towels to the skin, or take a cool shower or bath.
  • Sip cool fluids, such as water or a sports drink, to rehydrate the body. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol.

If symptoms don’t improve or the person exhibits symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

Get Summer Health Care at RediClinic

RediClinic offers a variety of services that treat common summer conditions such as rashes and allergies. Virtual visits are now available for patients throughout the greater Philadelphia area and in-person visits are available by appointment only in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas. RediClinic is open seven days a week, so make an online appointment today!