With heat index temperatures >100°F in the surrounding areas, it is extremely important to stay hydrated and know the signs/symptoms of heat illnesses to be able to address them quickly if noted.
There is a wide spectrum of disorders under the umbrella term of “heat illness.” Mild (heat cramps) is associated with hand/feet swelling, cramps, mild lightheadedness/dizziness. Moderate (heat exhaustion) is associated with excessive sweating, fatigue, headache, nausea/vomiting, mild confusion, stumbling, irritability/agitation, rectal temperature between 100-104°F. Severe (heat stroke) is associated with worsening mental status change, rectal temperature >104°F, seizures, and death. Symptoms can progress rapidly and lead to death if not addressed timely and appropriately.
- Extremes of age
- Exercising in hot/humid climates
- Heavy uniforms/equipment
- History of heat-related illness
If Mild: rest in cool area, oral hydration, massage/stretching cramping muscles
If Moderate/Severe: IMMEDIATE cold-water immersion (ideally ice water in a large tub with ability to fully submerge, but can be achieved with a tarp using the “taco method”), call 911 but do NOT transfer until rectal temperature is below 104°F.
- Acclimatization to heat/humidity for 10-14 days
- Light-colored/lightweight clothing
- Hydration before/during/after activity
- Review all medication with a physician
- Avoidance of activity based on heat/humidity/level of training