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Healthy Communities

Heat Risks

Know the heat-related risks and practice heat safety

Heat stress is a heat-related illness. It happens when your body cannot cool down properly. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sweating is not enough under certain conditions.

Who is at higher risk?

Heat-related illnesses are preventable

Simple tips to prevent heat stress are:

Common Heat-Related Illnesses:

Heat Stroke: Call 911 right away, move to a cooler place, and help lower the body temperature with cool clothes or a cool bath.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature (over 104 F or 40 C)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Fainting

Heat Exhaustion: Move to a cool place, loosen clothes, put cool, wet clothes on the body, or take a cool bath and sip water. Get medical help immediately if vomiting, dizziness, or symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting

Heat Cramps: Stop physical activity and move to a cool place, drink water or a sports drink, and wait for cramps to go away before starting more physical activity. Get medical help immediately if someone is on a low-sodium diet, has heart problems, or if cramps last longer than one hour.

Symptoms of Heat Cramps

  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms

Heat Rash: The best treatment is a cooler, less humid work environment when possible. Keep the rash area dry.

Symptoms of Heat Rash

  • Skin irritation looks like red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin
  • Usually appear on the neck, chest, groin, or elbow creases

HeatRisk Tracking Tool 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the CDC have a new heat forecast tool called HeatRisk. The HeatRisk Dashboard combines health and temperature data to give a 7-day outlook for hot weather. It uses a 5-level scale to show how risky the heat level in a specific area is.

Knowing the temperature is important to avoid exposure to extreme heat. Extreme heat is when summertime temperatures are much hotter or more humid than average. Humid conditions can make high temperatures more intense, make it harder to stay cool and promote mold growth indoors. Keep indoor humidity levels at 50 percent or below for health and comfort.

Helpful Resources

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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