There are five defined categories of heat-related illness.
- Heat Rash – Sometimes known as prickly heat. Typically found with infants and younger children. The suggested remedy is to keep the person in a cool, dry place, keep the rash area dry and use powder to soothe the rash.
- Sunburn – Can be mild to severe. Persons with a burn should stay out of the sun. Persons with severe sunburn should seek medical attention. Do not break blisters from more severe sunburned areas.
- Heat Cramps – The symptoms of this condition is excessive sweating during physical exercise or work. The victim can have muscle pain or cramping. The treatment is to move the person into a cool area, drink water or a “sports drink” to replace fluids and rest. You should see medical treatment if the cramps last more than one hour or if you have a heart condition or are on a low-sodium diet.
- Heat Exhaustion – This is a dangerous condition which is characterized by heavy sweating, cold, pale and/or clammy skin, a fast, weak pulse, headache and dizziness. Move the person to a cool place and, if possible, get the person to sip water. Get medical help immediately if the person is vomiting, exhibits confusion or an altered mental state.
- Heat Stroke – THIS IS A LIFE THREATING CONDITION. It is characterized by a hot body temperature of 103 degrees or greater, hot, red skin, a fast pulse, confusion and loss of consciousness. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY! Move the person to a cooler place.
For more information about heat-related illness, listen to the podcast by Dr. Ryan Stanton, Medical Director for the Lexington Fire Department.