Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses happen when your body is exposed to extreme temperatures for too long. They cause blood to rush to the surface of your skin, resulting in less blood flow to the brain. This can impair your mental and physical strength and can cause serious complications. It can be easy to avoid heat-related illnesses as long as the proper precautions are taken. AFC Urgent Care Bedford wants you to have a safe and healthy summer. Visit our center for health resources and to treat any urgent need this summer.

Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses

Working outside, exercising, and simply being in the direct sun for long periods can cause any heat illness. Some cause more serious symptoms than others. While not all of them require medical attention, it’s important to be mindful of the symptoms. These illnesses can develop and cause life-threatening conditions.

Heat rash is one of the mild types of heat-related illnesses. It can cause small, fluid-filled bumps on the skin, red bumps and itching, and a rash that looks like goosebumps.

Heat cramps cause brief muscle spasms, typically in the calves, thighs, and shoulders. This condition is also considered mild, but it’s important to stop any activity if you begin to feel uncomfortable.

Heat exhaustion is considered a severe type of heat illness. It causes severe sweating, rapid breathing, and a fast, weak pulse. It’s important to try and rehydrate and cool down the body soon after these symptoms begin. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke.

Lastly, heatstroke happens when your body’s internal temperature is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate emergency care. If temperatures and humidity are too high, the body’s normal defense mechanism against heat (sweating) does not work.

Treatment

To effectively treat any of these illnesses, it’s important to get out of the heat and into a cool area immediately. Rehydrate your body with water and other beverages that are high in electrolytes. Remove any restrictive clothing and cool your body down with cold clothes. If the symptoms have developed to heat stroke, do not drink any water and call 911 immediately.

Preventing Complications

To prevent heat illnesses, be sure to drink water frequently while exercising or staying outside for prolonged periods. Rest throughout the day in cool, shaded areas or inside where it is air-conditioned. Wear loose clothing that can help wick moisture from your body and create shade from the sun with sunglasses and hats. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from any sunburn.