Be vigilant for heat-related illnesses this summer

Be vigilant for heat-related illnesses this summer

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - As the temperatures climb and we head into summer, it's important that people understand the dangers the heat can bring.

If you are going to be working outside in the heat, there are precautions you should take. Remember to drink plenty of water, take many breaks in the shade and pay attention to your body because heat related illnesses might set in if you exert yourself too much on a hot and humid day.

The National Weather Service has released this list of heat-related illnesses and what kind of first aid you can use to treat them:


  • Symptoms:
    • Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen
    • Heavy sweating
  • First Aid:
    • Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm.
    • Give sips of water, if nausea occurs, discontinue water


  • Symptoms:
    • Heavy sweating
    • Weakness
    • Cool, pale, clammy skin
    • Weak pulse
    • Possible muscle cramps
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fainting
    • Normal temperature possible
  • First Aid:
    • Move person to a cooler environment
    • Remove or loosen clothing
    • Apply cool, wet cloths
    • Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
    • Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke)

  • Symptoms:
    • Altered mental state
    • Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
    • High body temperature (106°F or higher)
    • Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating
    • Rapid pulse
    • Possible unconsciousness
  • First Aid:
    • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
    • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
    • Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging
    • Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s
    • Use extreme caution
    • If temperature rises again, repeat process
    • Do NOT give fluids

Remember to never leave any person or pets in the car on a hot day. Temperatures inside a an automobile can quickly skyrocket to dangerous levels.

Sunscreen should always be used when going out in the sun. Sunburns can be dangerous if they're bad enough and they're always annoying to deal with.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.