Author: Mary Knapp

With temperatures approaching one hundred, the heat stress trilogy can begin to surface: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat cramps are the mildest symptom and usually occur when the water loss is replaced but not the salt or the potassium. Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition. It occurs when the body’s cooling system is overloaded but not shut down. Symptoms include heavy sweating, headache, dizziness and fatigue. Move sufferers into a cooler location, with feet slightly elevated. Try to cool them down with cool wet cloths and have them drink water or an electrolyte drink. With heat stroke, the body’s cooling system has stopped entirely. Symptoms include high body temperature, hot red or dry flushed skin, rapid pulse and difficulty breathing. Call 911 immediately. Seconds count.

Figure 1. Heat Illness (Center for Disease Control)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library