Preparing to handle the heat: How to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke

SPOKANE, Wash. — If you’re going to be spending time outside at all in the coming days, you need to be careful.

Heat illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke can strike at anytime.

Heat exhaustion is a milder condition, but can lead to heat stroke.

You’ll know you’re experiencing heat exhaustion if you feel nausea, fatigue, dizziness or muscle cramps.

Your body is telling you something is wrong and you’ll need to go indoors, cool off and drink water to hydrate right away.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

Those suffering from a heat stroke will experience a headache and confusion — you may start to lose consciousness.

Medical Director of Providence Urgent Care in Spokane, Dr. Michael Ravelo, says most people experiencing a heat stroke will not sweat.

“Your body kind of shuts off and instead of sweating to try to cool yourself off, you don’t sweat and that becomes quite problematic at that point,” said Ravelo. “You should seek medical attention immediately.”

Dr. Ravelo says anyone can experience heat illness and it doesn’t take temperatures above 100 degrees to do it.

“The key thing here is actually is preparing and planning,” he said. “Just becoming informed as far as what to look out for and what you can do to plan out your day.”

Plan your day by doing outdoor activities in the morning or the evening when it’s not as hot.

Start hydrating early and keep it up throughout the day.

And of course, do not leave pets or children in the car — not even with the windows down.

If you have a job or responsibilities keeping you outside this coming week during the hottest hours, Dr. Ravelo says to wear light, thinner clothing and take indoor breaks as much as you can.

“If you’re out there working and if you’re working with someone, keeping tabs on each other would be a really good thing to make sure everybody’s looking out for this,” said Ravelo. “And knowing when you’re going to be outside, how long, so somebody can check in on you.”

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