Chill Out: Your Guide to Summer Heat Safety

Chill Out: Your Guide to Summer Heat Safety

With the beginning of summer comes sunshine, increased temperatures, and heat stress. Heat stress incidents tend to occur in May through September and is caused by environmental conditions that increase our body temperature beyond our ability to stay cool.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, hospitalizations for heat-related illness in Washington state, not including work related incidents, range from 25 to 113 people each year and about 50% are people ages 65 and older.

Heat-related illness symptoms include:

  • Muscle cramps                                                             
  • Irritability, confusion, dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hot, red, clammy, or dry skin.
  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Thirst, nausea, or vomiting
  • Dizziness, nausea, confusion, or you stop sweating.
  • Slurred speech and loss of consciousness

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately!

Ways to prevent and treat heat-related illness:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink water every 15 minutes even if you are not thirsty and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Limit outdoor activities: If you must work outside, try to perform activities in the early morning or late evening and take frequent breaks.
  • Shut out the heat: Keep blinds and curtains closed; if it cools at night crack open a window.
  • Create relief: Take a cold shower or use ice or cold compress packs and apply them to your forehead or the back of your neck.
  • Keep cool: Cooling center locations in King County can be found at King County Cooling Centers.

For more information:

Content for this article was provided by Valley’s Safety Team.

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office

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