During the summer months, the weather can get hot. To avoid becoming ill or injured in the hot environment, remember to drink plenty of water, avoid prolonged heat exposure, minimize strenuous activity, wear sunscreen, and know when to slow down and take a break – especially before heat exhaustion or heat stroke occur.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke CAN be prevented. Know the warning signs.
While in a hot environment, if you begin to sweat profusely and feel generalized weakness and/or muscle cramping – it is time to rest in the shade and begin to drink water. This is the beginning of heat exhaustion and will continue to get worse if you do not rest.
If you start to experience heat exhaustion and do not rest, heat stroke, a life threatening emergency, can begin and may happen quickly.
Heat stroke symptoms include skin that is very hot to the touch and flushed (internal temperatures soar above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), the skin can be dry or sweaty, confusion and unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, and ultimately respiratory and heart failure leading to death.
If you witness someone suffering from heat stroke or if you feel you are experiencing heat exhaustion and cannot cool off, call 9-1-1 immediately. Move the injured person to a shady area, remove any extra clothing like jackets and second layers, and try to cool the person by a continuous drenching with hose water or submerging the person’s legs and trunk in a tub with cold water and ice until emergency medical help arrives. If someone is confused or unconscious, do not try to give them water or food.
If you have any questions about heat emergencies or would like additional information, please contact the Mariposa County Health Department at 209-966-3689. Thank you!