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How to recognize and treat heat-related illnesses

Heat-related illness range from dangerous (heat stroke) to common (sunburn). From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are how to recognize and treat them.

Heat stroke

• High body temperature (103 degrees or higher)

• Hot, red, dry or damp skin

• Fast, strong pulse

• Headache

• Dizziness

• Nausea

• Confusion

• Losing consciousness (passing out)

What to do: Call 911 immediately. Once that's done, move the person to a cooler spot, if possible, and apply cool clothes or give them a cool bath. Do not give them anything to drink.

Heat exhaustion

• Heavy sweating

• Cold, pale, and clammy skin

• Fast, weak pulse

• Nausea or vomiting

• Muscle cramps

• Tiredness or weakness

• Dizziness

• Headache

• Fainting (passing out)

What to do: Move to a cooler spot; loosen clothing; apply cool clothes or take a cool bath; sip water.

Heat cramps

• Heavy sweating during intense exercise

• Muscle pain or spasms

What to do: Otherwise, stop all physical activity until cramps go away; move to a cooler spot; drink water or a sports drink. If the cramps last more than an hour, you're on a low-sodium diet or you have heart problems, seek medical attention.


• Painful, red, and warm skin

• Blisters on the skin

What to do: Get out of the sun until the burn heals; apply cool clothes or take a cool bath; use lotion on burned areas; don't break blisters.

Heat rash

• Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases)

What to do: Stay in a cool, dry place; keep the rash dry; use baby powder to soothe the rash.

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