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Tips on how to avoid heat-related illnesses

With temperatures expected to remain high this week, McHenry County Department of Health and Centegra Health System reminds residents to take preventive actions during hot weather to avoid heat-related illness. Here are signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.Lady-drinking-water

  • Dehydration occurs when more water leaves the body that you put back in. Stay well hydrated throughout the day and drink extra fluids when exercising or simply being outdoors on hot days.
  • Symptoms may include: headaches, weak pulse, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, dizziness, and in some instances fainting, clammy skin, chills, cold, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps or very fast or very shallow breathing. If you suspect you have heat exhaustion, take action immediately to cool down. If possible, immerse yourself in cool water.
  • Unlike heat exhaustion, victims of heat stroke have warm skin that is dry to the touch because they’ve sweated out all their extra water leaving the body’s natural cooling system without a key cool-down mechanism. High fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a strong, rapid pulse all accompany heat stroke. Victims may become confused and can lose consciousness. Heat stroke is a very serious condition. Cool the victim; seek medical assistance.

Some tips to stay cool include the following:

  • Always wear light-weight clothing that has plenty of ventilation. Stay well hydrated by consuming an abundance of liquids in the summer. Be sure to provide pets with water and shade when outside as well.
  • Exercise or schedule other strenuous activities when the heat and humidity are lowest, usually in early morning and late evenings.
  • Rest in cool, shady places frequently. If you’re hot, go cool down. Get indoors, drink cool liquids, enjoy the air conditioning for a few minutes, or take a cold shower.
  • Watch out for those at greatest risk, including very young children, persons with health conditions like the elderly, pets. Young children should never be left in cars, even for short periods of time. Certain medications may put you at greater risk of heat-related illnesses so be aware of how medications may interact with the heat.