Avoid, Spot, Treat: Advice from CDC on heat stroke and heat exhaustion

As temperatures rise during the week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers advice on how to stay safe and avoid serious health problems.

When the temperature is very high, stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress properly and take breaks often. Keep in mind the following tips:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Find airconditioned places to cool off
  • Never leave kids or pets in a closed, parked vehicle
  • If you go outside, remember to wear a hat and sunscreen
  • Know who is at high risk:
    • Infants
    • Young children
    • Older adults
    • People with chronic medical conditions

Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Heat Stroke
Spot the common signs and symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Very high body temperature, above 103 degrees
  • Red, hot and dry skin with no sweating
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Confusion
  • Passing out

Heat Exhaustion
Spot the common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Fainting

If you see any of these signs, get medical help immediately.

While waiting for medical attention, you can help someone with heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Heat Stroke
Move the victim to a shady area or indoors. Do not give the person fluids. Cool their body by:

  • Placing the person in a cool (not cold) bath or shower
  • Spraying them with a garden hose
  • Sponging them with cool water
  • Fanning them

Continue efforts to cool the person until help arrives or their body temperature falls below 102 degrees and stays there.

Heat Exhaustion
Get medical attention if symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour. Cool their body with:

  • Cool, nonalcoholic beverages
  • Rest
  • A cool (not cold) bath, shower or sponge bath
  • Moving them to an airconditioned room
  • Giving them lightweight clothing

Seek medical help immediately if symptoms are severe or if victim has heat problems or high blood pressure.