Heat-related illnesses - when to seek care

When to seek help for heat-related illness

Hot days and high temperatures can be dangerous. Getting too hot can make you sick, if your body can’t cool you down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high temperatures kill hundreds of people each year.

However, heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable. Learn the signs so you know what do to if you or a household member starts having symptoms.

Heat Stroke
Heat Stroke is a medical emergency. If you or a loved one shows these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly.

Symptoms can include

What to do

  • Body temperature of 103 or higher
  • Absence of sweating
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Confusion or agitation
  • Passing out
  • Call 911 right away
  • While you’re waiting for help, keep the person cool by moving to shade or a cooler place. You can also use cool cloths or baths to try to lower their temperature.

 

Heat Exhaustion
Heat Exhaustion can progress to heat stroke if a person is unable to cool down. It’s important to treat quickly. Get medical help if symptoms get worse.

Symptoms can include

What to do

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Passing out
  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen tight clothes.
  • Use cool, wet cloths, or take a cool bath.
  • Sip water

Call your doctor or get medical help right away if:

  • You are vomiting
  • Your symptoms get worse or last longer than 1 hour

 

Heat Cramps
These are muscle spasms that can happen to physically active people in hot weather.

Symptoms can include

What to do

  • Heavy sweating during exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Stop physical activity and wait for cramps to stop before doing any other activity
  • Move to a cool place
  • Drink water

Call your doctor or get medical help right away if:

  • Cramps last longer than 1 hour
  • You have a heart condition
  • You are on a low-sodium diet

 

 

Sources:

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness (CDC)

Heat Stroke Symptoms, Signs, First Aid and Recovery

Heat exhaustion definition and facts

Heat cramps facts