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Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses

When working or playing outside in the Texas summer heat, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. In order of severity, the three types of heat-related illnesses are: heat cramps and dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Review the following symptoms and treatments prior to heading outside on an extra-hot sunshiny day:

HEAT CRAMPS AND DEHYDRATION
Symptoms: Muscle cramps, headache or light-headedness, fatigue, dry lips and skin, thirst
Treatment: Move to a cool place and rest. Drink cool water or a sports drink containing electrolytes. Stretch out cramped muscles slowly and gently.

HEAT EXHAUSTION
Symptoms: Pale skin, high fever, nausea or vomiting, overall weakness, light headedness
Treatment: Move to a cool place and rest. Remove excess clothing and cool skin with wet washcloths or ice packs. Drink cool water or a sports drink containing electrolytes.

HEAT STROKE
Symptoms: Very high fever, rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, nausea or vomiting, weakness, confusion, lethargy, hot and dry skin with no sweating, seizures, loss of consciousness
Treatment: Move to a cool place and rest. Call 911 as heat stroke is life-threatening. Remove excess clothing and cool the entire body with wet washcloths and ice packs. Offer fluids if able to be consumed consciously.

In any case, seek medical assistance immediately if the affected person has an existing heart condition.

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