Heat-related illness defined

Heat-related illness defined
Oklahoman Published: May 13, 2012

AT A GLANCE

Staying safe in the heat

Heat cramps

• What they are: Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually happen in large muscles like the legs or abdomen. They are caused by exposure to high humidity and heat and a loss of electrolytes and fluids.

• What to do: When heat cramps occur, EMSA paramedic John Graham said, people should get out of the heat into air conditioning or shade and keep rehydrating with water or fluids with electrolytes. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.

Heat exhaustion

• What it is: Heat exhaustion is a form of mild shock that occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing decreased blood flow to the vital organs. Signs include cool, moist, pale flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness and exhaustion.

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