6 Tips for Practicing Heat Safety and Warning Signs to Look Out For

The promise of adventure and vitamin D has many of us itching to get out, but no matter how enticing that sunshine is, we’ve all been burned before by Arkansas’ brutal summer heat.

Of course, this doesn’t mean being outdoors this summer is off the table, it just means more awareness and precautions are in order, and not just lathering on the SPF. Along with the general annoyance of a sunburn, heat-related illnesses are no joke and can land you in the hospital.

Here’s some helpful guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health on practicing heat safety.


To prevent heat stress:

1. Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider public places like a library, senior center or mall.

2. Wear light, loose-fitted clothing.

3. Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities if you are outside or without air conditioning.

4. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. Wear a hat and sunglasses when you are in the sun.

5. Drink water often. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.


If things start to look more serious, keep an eye out for these symptoms of common heat-related illnesses:

Heat Stroke

  • high body temperature
  • hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • fast, strong pulse
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • fainting

What to do: Call 911 right away, move to a cooler place and help lower the body temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.


Heat Exhaustion

  • heavy sweating
  • cold, pale and clammy skin
  • fast, weak pulse
  • nausea or vomiting
  • muscle cramps
  • tiredness or weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • fainting

What to do: Move to a cool place, loosen clothes, sip water, put cool, wet cloths on the body or take a cool bath. Get medical help immediately if vomiting, dizziness or symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.


Heat Cramps

  • heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • muscle pain or spasms

What to do: Stop physical activity and move to a cool place, drink water or a sports drink and wait for cramps to go away before starting more physical activity. Get medical help immediately if someone is on a low-sodium diet, has heart problems or if cramps last longer than one hour.


Heat Rash

  • skin irritation looks like red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin
  • usually appear on the neck, chest, groin or elbow creases

What to do: The best treatment is a cooler, less humid work environment when possible. Keep the rash area dry. According to the Mayo Clinic, for immediate relief, press a cool cloth on the affected area or take a cool bath, then avoid exposure to the heat.


And if you do get that sunburn, stay out of the sun until it heals, take a cool bath, put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas and don’t break the blisters.

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