Heat-related illnesses

by Dawn Huffman

Mille Lacs Health System

Everyone wants to enjoy as many outdoor activities as possible during the summer. No one wants to have their fun day turn into a trip to the emergency room. Mille Lacs Health System can treat patients for heat-related illness.

Heat rash is a heat-related illness. Symptoms of heat rash are red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin — usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases. It is a sign that your body is getting too hot.

Heat cramps are another heat-related illness. Symptoms of heat cramps are heavy sweating, and muscle pain or spasms.

Heat exhaustion can quickly become heat stroke if left untreated. Signs include heavy sweating; cold, pale and clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness; dizziness, headache, or fainting.

Heat stroke is responsible for more than 600 deaths per year in the US. It is a type of severe heat illness that results in body temperatures over 104 degrees. Symptoms include hot, red, dry or damp skin; fast, strong pulse; headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion; or losing consciousness.

Heat-related illness can happen quickly, especially in vehicles. In fact, even if temperatures outside are only 70 degrees, within 30 minutes the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 104 degrees. It is very important that you never leave anyone in a parked car, even with the windows down. It is not safe and could lead to death. In the US, more than 36 children die each year in overheated vehicles.

If you are concerned about any symptoms of heat-related illness, move to a cool place until help arrives. Mille Lacs Health System wants you to have a safe and fun summer, and we are always here when you need us. This summer, if you like our Facebook page, you can go to any of our clinics and pick up a temperature alert card for your car at the admissions desk.