Heat Related Illness Tips

By: Jeff Morrow Email
By: Jeff Morrow Email

Summer officially starts Friday which means many school sports teams will begin practicing in the summer heat soon.

The Grand Valley has seen a week of 90 degree highs this week and forecasters say the 90's may stick around for a few more days.

Kristy Westerman of the Mesa County Health Department says, "It's really important if you're going to be outdoors in the sun, if you're working outdoors, that you take the appropriate preventative measures to avoid a heat related illness."

Westerman says it's important to drink lots of fluids but not alcohol or soft drinks because those can actually leave you even more dehydrated. The best choice is a sports drink to help replenish minerals lost while sweating. She also recommends taking frequent breaks and finding shade or air conditioning whenever possible during those breaks. This will help to allow your body to cool down.

Westerman says the symptoms to look for in heat exhaustion which is the minor form of heat related illness is profuse sweating, pale skin, dizziness, and being tired. Treatment for heat exhaustion is putting water on the person, getting the person inside a cool building or in the shade, and giving them cold water to drink.

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat related illness. Symptoms include stopping of sweat, very red, dry skin, complete confusion, disorientation, and fainting. The best treatment for heat stroke is to call 9-1-1 immediately. DO NOT give fluids to anyone suffering from heat stroke. Fluids may cause violent tremors with severe muscle cramps.

Westerman says the elderly, very young, and people with mental illness are most at risk for heat related illnesses.

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