Signs of heat-related illnesses: what to look for and what to do

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These months pose heat-related threats to everyone's health, particularly infants, small children, and adults 65 and older.

July and August are known to be the hottest months in Maryland when temperatures and humidity are higher than average. This past July has been relentless with the ongoing heatwaves. These months pose heat-related threats to everyone's health, particularly infants, small children, and adults age 65 or older.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to itself. The body normally cools down by creating sweat during extreme heat, but body temperature can rise much faster than it can cool itself. The CDC also reported that around 618 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.

Here are some signs, symptoms, and treatments for heat-related illnesses

Heat cramps—brief, painful muscle cramps in the legs, arms, or abdomen, according to KidsHealth from Nemours. These cramps occur after vigorous exercise in extreme heat conditions, due to the loss of salt and minerals.

Heat cramps are painful but not severe. If your child experiences a heat cramp, move them to a cool place and give them lots of fluids. Sports drinks like Gatorade can help replenish lost nutrients while water will rehydrate the body.

Heat exhaustion—occurs when a person spends long periods in extreme heat without drinking water. Some symptoms include loss of consciousness, heavy sweating, increased thirst, weakness, and nausea/vomiting.

If not addressed, heat exhaustion can become a severe problem. If your child shows signs of heat exhaustion, quickly move them to a cool place, remove any tight clothes, and give them plenty of water.

Heat rash—occurs when sweat doesn't evaporate from the skin. The sweat irritates the skin and creates red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples. This rash can appear on the neck, groin, or within elbow creases, according to the CDC. You can use baby powder to help soothe and dry out the rash.

Heatstroke—is the most common form of heat-related illnesses, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It occurs when the body is unable to regulate its core temperature. The body stops sweating, which then causes confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures.

If your child or loved one shows signs of suffering from heatstroke, immediately call 911. While you're waiting for help, get them out of the heat and into a chilled environment. Run a cool bath or use a damp towel to reduce their body temperature. Do not give them anything to drink

Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable when you take proper precautions. Monitor how much time you spend in high heat conditions, wear light loose clothing, and stay hydrated. When possible, avoid being out between the hours of noon and six, as the sun and the heat are at their highest.

ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers are a convenient alternative when you can't get to your primary care doctor. The experts at ExpressCare offer immediate medical treatment for common illnesses and injuries like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and more, for children and adults.

If your child is suffering from a heat-related illness, ExpressCare has 25 convenient locations in Maryland. Visit http://www.whywaitintheer.com/ to learn more about their services and to find the location nearest to you.

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