Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.
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Stay healthy in the heat
Anyone who works outside or otherwise will spend a lot of time in the heat this week: Please be careful. The heat is extreme. Wear light-colored clothes, try to work hardest during the coolest parts of the day, stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade.
Camp counselors and coaches, it probably goes without saying, but please give your charges lots of water breaks and schedule as many activities as possible in the shade or indoors. Kids—if they’re anything like I was—will run until they’re sweat-soaked, dizzy and chilled, and they won’t stop until they’re told to.
Getting overheated can lead to heat stroke, the most serious form of heat-related illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give these warning signs of heat stroke:
– Hot, dry skin (sweating has stopped)
– Throbbing headache
– High temperature
– Slurred speech
Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency; call 911 if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms.
Less-serious heat illnesses include heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. Signs of heat exhaustion—which can progress to heat stroke if a person doesn’t cool down—include:
– Heavy sweating
– Muscle cramps
– Clammy skin
– Fast, shallow breathing
– Slightly raised temperature
– Pale or flushed complexion
– Extreme fatigue
If you or someone you know suffers these symptoms, a cool shower, rest in a cool area, and lots of cold, non-alcoholic liquids are needed.
Learn more at cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/