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Extreme Heat

How does heat affect my health and the health of my family?

Heat illnesses can affect you quickly, and can lead to long-term health problems and even death. You can become ill when you are exposed to too much heat, especially if you are doing too much for your age and physical condition.

Your body produces heat, especially when you are being active. Hot air, sun rays, and hot surfaces can also heat your body. Your body cools down by sweating and sweat cools your body as it evaporates.

The weather plays a big role in keeping cool. For example, if it's windy, sweat evaporates faster, which helps to cool you faster. But high humidity slows this process, which slows your body’s ability to cool down.Person sitting on bench

Watch for symptoms of heat illness, which include:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst
  • Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine

If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best.

Heat illnesses include:

  • heat edema (swelling of hands, feet, and ankles)
  • heat rash
  • heat cramps (muscle cramps)
  • heat fainting
  • heat exhaustion
  • heat stroke - a medical emergency!

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.

While waiting for help - cool the person right away by:

  • moving them to a cool place, if you can
  • applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing
  • fanning the person as much as possible