Extreme Heat – Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke

What are the signs and symptoms of heat illness?

Heat Exhaustion

  • High body temperature
  • Confusion and lack of coordination
  • Skin rash
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark urine and decreased urination

If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids; water is best.

Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature
  • Confusion and lack of coordination
  • Dizziness/Fainting
  • No sweating, but very hot, red skin

Heat stroke is a medical emergency! Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. While waiting for help—cool the person right away as follows:

  • If possible, move them to a cool place
  • apply cold water to large areas of the skin
  • fan the person as much as possible

Who is most at risk?

Older Adults

Many factors, such as chronic illnesses, certain medications, and social aspects, put older adults at increased risk during extreme heat events.

Infants and Young Children

There is an increased risk due to physiological characteristics of children’s bodies and their high dependency on their caregivers.

Chronic Illness/ Special Medication

There is an increased risk for individuals with breathing difficulties, heart problems, and psychiatric illnesses.

People who Work or are Active Outdoors

This is due to increased heat exposure and physical strain.

Safety Tips

Tip 1

Prepare for the Heat

  • Tune in regularly to local weather forecasts and alerts.

Tip 2

Know the Signs of Heat

Tip 3

Pay Attention to how you and those around you feel

Tip 4

Drink Liquids; Water is Best

Tip 5

Stay Cool

How to stay cool

  • Wear breathable, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
  • Plan strenuous outdoor activities for cooler days, or choose a cooler location.
  • Spend a few hours in a cool place (tree-shade, air conditioned location).

Never leave children or pets alone in a parked vehicle.

Resource: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/fact-sheet-staying-healthy-heat.html Accessed July 9, 2019