How to Watch for the Hidden Symptoms of Extreme Heat

Climate change is making summers in the US and around the world hotter, with more days of extreme heat and fewer nights that let our bodies cool down. 

For example, the United Kingdom crushed its record for highest temperature ever recorded Tuesday as a scorching heat wave broiled much of mainland Europe, leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths and fierce wildfires.

Exposure to abnormal or prolonged amounts of heat and humidity without relief or adequate fluid intake can cause various types of heat-related illness. Children and teens adjust more slowly than adults do to changes in environmental heat. They also produce more heat with activity than adults, and sweat less. Sweating is one of the body’s normal cooling mechanisms. Children and teens often do not think to rest when having fun and may not drink enough fluids when playing, exercising, or participating in sports.

Children and teens with chronic health problems, or those who take certain medicines, may be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Children and teens who are overweight or wear heavy clothing during exertion, such as marching band or football uniforms, are also more susceptible.

There are 3 types of heat-related illnesses:

  • Heat cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

Below we explain the warning signs for heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps, how to avoid them and the steps you can take to stay safe when the weather heats up.

What are Heat Cramps?

What is Heat Exhaustion?

What is Heat Stroke?

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