Heat-Related Illness Prevention

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Heat-Related Illness Prevention

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, according to the National Weather Service, and Athens Fire/Rescue Fire Marshal Lance West wants residents to be safe.

"We are going into the hot time of year, so I just want to share some things about staying safe while outdoors this summer," he said. "Keep an eye on the weather and heat index and know the signs and symptoms of heat illness."

"Also remember not to leave a child or pet in a car for any length of time," West said. "The car can heat up 20 degrees in just 10 minutes."

The following groups are particularly vulnerable to the heat:

  • Young children and infants
  • Older adults
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • Pregnant women

Some key symptoms the Mayo Clinic says to watch for include:

  • Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If you think you're experiencing heat exhaustion:

  • Stop all activity and rest
  • Move to a cooler place
  • Drink cool water or sports drinks


Contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don't improve within one hour. If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused or agitated, loses consciousness, or is unable to drink. You will need immediate cooling and urgent medical attention if your core body temperature (measured by a rectal thermometer) reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher.