The summer swelter is on its way as temperatures and humidity rise. This increases health risks as you work and play outside, especially for older people and young children.

Excessive heat exposure can cause several health problems including heat cramps, which are painful spasms of your arm, leg and/or abdomen muscles. People experiencing these symptoms should rest in a cooler place and drink water or fluids containing electrolytes.

Heat Exhaustion is a common heat related illness that has the potential to be life-threatening. The signs of heat exhaustion often begin very suddenly and often occur after spending time outdoors performing a strenuous activity. Symptoms can include:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Cool, moist, pale skin
  • Cramps
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid, weak heartbeat

If someone exhibits the symptoms of heat exhaustion, it is important to get that person out of the sun – preferably into an air conditioned room. Give the person cool water to drink, remove any excess clothing, and have them lie down. If symptoms do not improve, seek medical help.

How can you avoid heat-related illnesses? Follow these tips:

  • Wear light-weight, light colored clothing made of breathable material, like cotton.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity on hot days.
  • If you must be outside, take frequent breaks in a cool place. Air-conditioning is the single best way to protect against heat-related illness. If you do not have air-conditioning at home during extreme heat. Try to spend time in air-conditioned locations such as a shopping mall, public library, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelter in your area.

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