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What a start to summer! This heat is busting some records here in Idaho, and holy cow!

We've already talked about keeping your plants protected from the heat, but we here at Emerald Ladder know YOU are just as important at keeping safe from the sun's scorching waves!

Even if you feel fine, you could have heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is very deadly and if not treated immediately, can cause serious problems. Let's look at the differences.

Heat Exhaustion: Should I be worried, or don't sweat it?

Heat exhaustion is one of the heat-related syndromes. Symptoms range in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. Heat exhaustion can begin suddenly or over time, usually after working or playing in the heat, perspiring heavily, or being dehydrated.

Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:

  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat

  • Heavy sweating

  • Faintness

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Weak, rapid pulse

  • Low blood pressure upon standing

  • Muscle cramps

  • Nausea

  • Headache

If you suspect heat exhaustion

Untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition. If you suspect heat exhaustion, take these steps immediately:

  • Move the person out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place.

  • Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.

  • Remove tight or heavy clothing.

  • Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.

  • Cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning.

  • Monitor the person carefully.

Contact a doctor if signs or symptoms worsen or if they don't improve within one hour.

Call 911 or your local emergency number if the person's condition deteriorates, especially if he or she experiences:

  • Fainting

  • Agitation

  • Confusion

  • Seizures

  • Inability to drink

  • Core body temperature — measured by rectal thermometer — of 104 F (40 C) (heatstroke)

Is It Heat Stroke?


Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke:

There are many symptoms of a heat stroke. Be mindful if you or someone you know experiences the following while spending large amounts of time outdoors in the summer:

  • Sudden Severe Headache: It may be a migraine or just “any other headache.” Be aware of any sudden headache onset. However, If you are spending time in the heat and high humidity, this could be a signal that your body is overheating fast.

  • Unexplained confusion or odd behavior. If someone suddenly shows signs of dizziness, confusion or agitation, loss of consciousness or disorientation, call 911. These are all beginning signs of a heat stroke.

  • Sudden rush of feeling cold and chills while sweating: When your body can’t regulate your temperature, it may send chills down your spine, literally. If you’re hot and sweating yet experiencing chills and a feeling of being cold, seek emergency care and take steps to cool down your body temperature fast.

  • Alteration in sweating. The Mayo Clinic states, “In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in a heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.” Pay attention to your skin and how you feel during strenuous activities while in a warm climate.

  • Racing Heart Rate, Rapid Breathing, Nausea, and vomiting. You could feel your heart rate increase rapidly without doing any strenuous activity and the culprit is a heat stroke. You may begin to feel sick to your stomach or physically vomit. If you experience any of these signs, it’s your body telling you to cool down, stat.

How to Treat Heat Stroke:

If you experience any of the symptoms above and suspect a heat stroke, call 911 and seek help from your local emergency care facility immediately. If you know someone who is experiencing heat exhaustion or who is beginning to show signs of a heat stroke, be sure to take them to a shaded area and apply cool compresses to their head, chest, neck, and/or back. You may also spray them with cool water from a nearby hose or use a sponge to apply cool water directly over their skin. Remove excess clothing.

Be careful not to cool off yourself or others too quickly by offering them ice water to drink. Santosh Sinha, MD at Dignity Health Medical Group – Bakersfield warns that by digesting ice cold water during a heat stroke will actually “constrict the capillaries, cause stomach cramps, and decrease the absorption rate”. The sudden rush of coldness in your body could cause more damage than good with a state similar to “shock”.

Who is Most At Risk of Heat Stroke?

According to the CDC, the following individuals are most at-risk for a heat stroke:

  • Infants and young children

  • People 65 years of age or older

  • People who are overweight

  • Individuals who overexert during work or exercise

  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as those for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation

  • People traveling from cooler climates to drastically warmer climates.

  • Keep in mind, certain anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications make you more sensitive to the sun, so use extra precautions when going out into sunlight.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke:

If you know you will be spending more time outside, be sure to dress in loose clothing made of lighter fabric. Avoid darker colors to prevent heat absorption. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. If you feel as though heat exhaustion is coming on fast, grab an infant electrolyte drink to replenish what has been lost through sweat. Avoid sports drinks and juices, as they contain high amounts of sugar. Drink plenty of water every day and avoid excessive amounts of alcohol especially when you know you will be spending most of your day out in the heat.


Emerald Ladder Design website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Emerald Ladder Designs does not endorse any services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Emerald Ladder Designs website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

Now that we know what to look for, here's a few ideas to beat the heat and stay cool!

  1. Take a cool bath or shower (for a really refreshing kick, use peppermint soap!)

  2. Washcloths on your wrists and neck

  3. Fire up that box fan! Place box fans facing out of the windows of rooms you're spending time in to blow out hot air and replace it with cold air inside.

  4. Close curtains and/or blinds.

  5. Breathable linens: cotton is one of the most breathable. Get the lowest thread count you can, as it is not as tightly woven as the higher ones. Lower count means bigger holes, more air flow.

  6. Utilize your basement. It's well-insulated against the heat being underground. And usually the coolest portion of the house.

  7. Close the doors of unused rooms, and put a rolled up towel at the bottom of the door.

  8. Keep exhaust fans above the stove, and in bathrooms constantly sucking that hot air out of the house.

But really, take care of yourselves and beat the heat.

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