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Preventing and Treating Heat Illness

Hey Arizona, Summer is here, and the weather is heating up. It’s time to pay attention to heat stroke and heat related illness. Last year, the heat killed 172 people in the phoenix area, which is a record for a second consecutive year. Our goal at LP Health Direction’s this Summer is to help prevent heat stroke and heat related illness by educating the public on the signs, prevention and treatment of heat related illness.

Heat exhaustion. Before heat stroke occurs, people usually experience signs of heat exhaustion. When the body overheats, natural cooling mechanisms take effect. The body will attempt to regulate body temperature by sweating. When sweat evaporates, blood is cooled at the skin helping to reduce the core body temperature. In the process, fluids, electrolytes and potassium, which the body needs to function, are depleted.

Symptoms may include: Nausea, headache, profuse sweating, flushed skin, extreme thirst and muscle cramping. Dizziness and confusion may also be experienced.

Treatment for heat exhaustion include: getting out of the heat source, cooling the body by fanning (which helps to reduce ambient temperature) replenishing fluids with water (placing electrolyte packets in water if possible) sport drinks, coconut water and milk to prevent dehydration.

Heat stroke occurs when the body’s core temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The increased core body temperature can affect internal organs which may result in organ failure. Heat stroke is serious and immediate action should be taken to prevent injury to the brain and other vital organs.

Symptoms of heat stroke include: confusion, anxiety, loss of concentration and seizure. Symptoms may also include, the inability to sweat and the skin may become hot and dry.

Treatment for heat stroke requires calling 911, and begin cooling the victim from the outside. Spray the skin of the person with a mister if possible or loosen and soak all the clothes on the victim and cover exposed skin with wet or cold compress. Place ice packs at the central pressure points on the side of the neck, under the arm pits, and the groin are between the legs. This will cool the blood directly. If possible, place the victim in a body of cold water up to their neck using a bathtub or pool.

Call 911 if the victim loses consciousness, experiences an altered mental state, loses the ability to swallow fluids or when skin becomes pale, hot and dry.


Knowing how to prevent heat related illness is key to survival. Stay cool, stay hydrated! If possible, STAY OUT OF THE HEAT! Drink plenty of fluids often, during and after strenuous exercise. Strenuous exercise should be avoided during hot weather, especially in the sun peak hours as well as avoiding confined spaces such as automobiles without air-conditioning or adequate ventilation. Wear appropriate clothing: choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks, these cause you to lose more body fluid. Check your local news for updates on extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area. Click the links below for more information.

Pay special attention to populations that may be vulnerable and at risk of heat exposure. Populations include: elderly individuals living alone, the homeless and people taking certain medications.

Don’t forget to sign up for a first-aid training class with LP Health Directions, we can come to your group or visit our new training center in Central Phoenix!


- Summer Heat Safety

- “On 107-Degree Day, APS Cut Power to Stephanie Pullman's Home. She Didn't Live” Phoenix New Times. June 13, 2019.

- "Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness|Extreme Heat". June 19, 2017. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017.

- "InfoSheet: Protecting Workers from Heat Illness" (PDF). OSHA–NIOSH. 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 16, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.

- “Heat Stroke (Hyperthermia) What Is It?” Published: Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. January 2019.

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