Summer months bring longer days and shorter nights, which means more sun exposure. Heat exhaustion and heat-related illness can occur in kids and adults of all ages, especially when the heat from the sun is coupled with the high humidity that is prominent in southern states, such as North Carolina. 

Download FastMed’s Summer Health in the Heat Tips! Click HERE.

Heat exhaustion occurs when one is exposed to the sun and its heat for an extended period of time. There are two types of heat exhaustion: water depletion and salt depletion. Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Dark-colored urine 

Although it can affect people of all ages, babies and the elderly are more prone to heat exhaustion. There are, however, simple steps that you can take to prevent heat exhaustion:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing
  • Apply sunscreen often (especially to the head, arms and shoulders)
  • Seek shade and cooler, less humid environments
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially water
  • Take caution when taking certain medicine, which could increase your chances at heat illness
  • Hydrate and replace sodium losses with a sports drink or other source of salt 

What is heat stroke? — Heat stroke is a condition that can happen when people’s bodies get too hot. Most often, heat stroke happens when people exercise in very hot and humid weather without drinking enough fluids. But heat stroke can also happen in people who are not exercising.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency that needs to be treated quickly. That’s because heat stroke can lead to death if it is not treated quickly.

When people get too hot, they can also get “heat cramps” and “heat exhaustion.” These conditions are not as serious as heat stroke, but they can lead to heat stroke if they aren’t treated. 

What are the symptoms of heat stroke? — People with heat stroke have:

  • A body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher
  • Brain symptoms – These can include:
  • Confusion or trouble thinking clearly
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t real (called “hallucinating”)
  • Trouble walking
  • Seizures
  • Passing out
  • Heat stroke can also cause:
  • Fast breathing or a fast heartbeat
  • Skin redness and warmth
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Headaches 

Should I see a healthcare provider? — Yes. If you or someone you are with has heat stroke, get medical help right away. In the US, you should call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. 

Share what you know!Download this Flier on Summer Health in the Heat Tips! Click HERE. We have a flier for each of our North Carolina communities.

Summertime is the perfect time to host barbeques or watch kids play their favorite outdoor activities. FastMed Urgent Care encourages you and your family to have fun, but stay safe this summer!


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