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The human body is normally able to regulate its temperature through sweating, until it is exposed to more heat than it can handle. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can escalate rapidly, leading to delirium, organ damage and even death. In 2018, 162 people died in the U.S. from exposure to excessive heat, according to Injury Facts.
People most at risk include:
When the body loses excessive water and salt, usually due to sweating, heat exhaustion can occur. According to the free NSC First Aid Quick Reference app, signs and symptoms include:
Uncontrolled heat exhaustion can evolve into heat stroke, so make sure to treat victims quickly:
Seek medical help immediately if someone is suffering from heat stroke. Signs include:
Immediately take action:
The best way to avoid a heat-related illness is to limit exposure outdoors during hot days. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
If your job requires you to work outside in hot weather, you and your supervisors can take precautions to minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends:
In your community, please check in on neighbors who are elderly, house-bound or otherwise may be reluctant to ask for help. You can offer to host them in the air-conditioned comfort of your living room on hot days, drive them to a local cooling center, or call relatives or city services to arrange for them to stay cool.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, about three kids die each week in hot cars.
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