Rising temperatures and heat waves can cause serious medical conditions. In an effort to prevent them, Nassau County experts have put together a list of signs and symptoms of heat-related conditions, such as dehydration, heatstroke and heat exhaustion, as well as prevention tips to help residents stay safe. During heat waves, check on family, friends and neighbors, especially if they are senior citizens, and be sure to call 911 at
the first sign of a medical emergency.
Signs & Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
• Severe thirst
• Muscle cramps
• Muscle weakness
• Nausea and/or vomiting
• Fast, shallow breathing
• Increased sweating
• Cool, clammy skin
• Elevation of body temperature to 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
Signs & Symptoms of Heatstroke
• Severe throbbing headache
• Disorientation, agitation or confusion
• Sluggishness or fatigue
• Hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty
• A high body temperature
• Loss of consciousness
• Rapid heartbeat
Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration
• Less-frequent urination
• Dry skin
• Light headedness
• Dry mouth and mucous membranes
• Increased heart rate and breathing
• In children, additional symptoms may include dry mouth and tongue; no tears when crying; no wet diapers for more than three hours; sunken abdomen, eyes or cheeks; high fever; listlessness; irritability; skin that does not flatten when pinched and released.
How Heatstroke Can Be Prevented
• Drink plenty of fluids during outdoor activities; water and sports drinks are preferred; tea, coffee, soda and alcohol should be avoided.
• Wear lightweight, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing in light colors.
• Schedule vigorous activity and sports for cooler times of the day.
• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses, and using an umbrella.
• Gradually increase time spent outdoors to get your body accustomed to the heat.
• Take frequent drink breaks during outdoor activities, and mist yourself with a spray bottle to avoid becoming overheated.
• Spend as much time indoors as possible on very hot, humid days.
How Dehydration Can Be Prevented
• Drink plenty of fluids, especially when working or playing in the sun.
• Be sure to take in more fluid than you are losing.
• Drink appropriate sports drinks to help maintain electrolyte balance.
• Infants and children should be given Pedialyte to maintain their electrolyte balance.
How to Treat Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion
• Bring the person indoors or into the shade immediately.
• Remove the person’s clothing and gently apply cool water to the skin, followed by fanning to stimulate sweating.
• Apply ice packs to the groin and armpits.
• Have the person lie down in a cool area with his or her feet slightly elevated.