From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) released guidelines to help people avoid becoming overwhelmed by the summer heat.
“Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is exposed to high temperatures,” the ADPH said in a press release. “The incidence of these illnesses rises expectedly during warm weather periods, and anyone exposed to high temperatures or extreme heat can experience symptoms when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded.”
The most common heat-related illnesses are as follows:
· Heat cramps
· Heat exhaustion
Heat cramps– include muscle pains or spasms (abdomen, arms or legs), profuse sweat, and high salt concentration in the sweat.
Heat exhaustion– is associated with heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, or vomiting and fainting. Other possible symptoms may include cool and moist skin, fast and weak pulse rate, fast and shallow breathing, or irritability. Older adults, those with high blood pressure and those working or exercising in a hot environment are prone to heat exhaustion. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it may progress to heatstroke.
Heatstroke or sunstroke – the most serious heat-related illness, a life-threatening problem, may occur when the body is unable to control its temperature. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees F or higher within 10 -15 minutes. Signs include an extremely high body temperature, red, hot and dry or moist skin, rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, dehydration, combativeness or confusion, and unconsciousness. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and even with immediate treatment, it can be life-threatening or cause serious long-term problems.
The ADPH said drinking plenty of fluids, other than alcohol and caffeinated beverages, can help prevent dehydration. Also. staying in an air-conditioned room, keeping out of the sun by seeking shelter, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, and using sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, taking cool showers or baths, and reducing or eliminating strenuous activities during the hottest times of the day.
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