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Entries in Overexposure (1)

Tuesday
May312011

Heat Overexposure: Know the Signs, How to Act

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Scorching temperatures in many areas over Memorial Day weekend sent several people to emergency rooms for heat overexposure. Baltimore, Laredo, Texas, Louisville, Ky., and Raleigh, N.C., all tied record high temperatures Monday -- and more heat is on the way.

Air conditioning and portable air conditioners can get expensive, so what are things you can do to avoid the heat? Can you recognize the signs of heat exhaustion? And would you know what to do if someone started to show symptoms of it?

Tips for Staying Cool This Summer

  • Be aware of the heat. Pay attention to it and modify your activities appropriately.
  • Pay attention to your hydration status, and be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Try to stay in relatively cool areas, even when outside. Many public places such as libraries, shopping malls and movie theatres are air conditioned.
  • Avoid hot enclosed places, such as cars. Never leave children unattended in a car parked in the sun.
  • Use a fan, if available.
  • Stay on the lowest floor of your building.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Cover windows that receive a significant amount of sun with drapes or shades to help keep your house cool.
  • Weatherstripping and proper insulation will keep cool air inside your home.
  • Cool beverages are good for cooling down the body, while alcoholic drinks can impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature.


Signs of Heat Overexposure

  • Heavy sweating. But if heat stroke sets in, the body can no longer compensate and stops sweating.
  • Pale skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Altered mental status (confusion or disorientation)
  • Headache
  • Becoming semi-conscious, or passing out.
  • Nausea or vomiting


First Steps to take After Recognizing Heat-Induced Illness

  • Call 911.
  • Get the person out of the sun and into a cool area. An air-conditioned area is ideal, but moving someone into the shade will also help.
  • Apply water to help the person cool off.
  • Apply ice to the neck or armpits, where large blood vessels are close to the surface.
  • Remove any heavy clothing
  • Immerse the body in cool water, either at a swimming pool or in a bathtub.


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ABC News Radio