Heat emergencies fall into three categories of increasing severity: Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heatstroke.
Heat emergencies are easily preventable by taking precautions in hot weather. Children, elderly, and obese people have a higher risk of developing heat illness. People taking certain medications or drinking alcohol also have a higher risk. Heatstroke, the most serious of the three, can cause shock, brain damage, organ failure, and even death.
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain in arms, legs, and abdomen
- Moist, pale skin
- Fatigue and fainting
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Headache and confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid pulse and breathing
- No sweating
- Dry, hot, red skin
- Confusion and loss of consciousness
- Rapid pulse
- Temperature over 103º F
What causes heat emergencies?
- High temperatures or humidity
- Prolonged or excessive exercise
- Excess clothing
- Alcohol use
- Medications, such as diuretics, neuroleptics, phenothiazines, and anticholinergics
- Cardiovascular disease