Skip to main content

An intense heat wave has arrived in Northeast Ohio, and with it, an increased risk of heat-related illnesses and death. Older adults, young children and people with chronic disease or mental illness are at highest risk, however even young and healthy people can be affected if they participate in strenuous physical activities.

Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, occur when the body is not able to properly cool itself. When left unaddressed, serious damage to the brain and other vital organs can occur. Factors that might increase your risk of developing a heat-related illness include:

  • Obesity
  • Dehydration
  • Prescription drug use
  • Heart disease
  • Poor circulation
  • Sunburn
  • Alcohol use

Prevent heat-related illnesses by avoiding outdoor activities between 12 – 4 p.m., the hottest part of the day. If staying inside a cool, air-conditioned space is not an option, be sure to drink plenty of water, seek shade and take breaks often. Remember to check on the elderly and sick, especially those without air-conditioning. Children and pets should never be left in cars unattended, so remember to look before you lock.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Seek immediate medical attention if the person vomits, symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.

Heat Stroke Symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Throbbing headache
  • Hot, red, damp OR dry skin
  • Nausea
  • Rapid pulse
  • Fainting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • 103°F+ body temperature

Do NOT give the victims fluid. If waiting for treatment, move the victim to the shade or a cooler environment. Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.

Heat stroke can be deadly. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, do not delay in calling 911 or getting the victim to a hospital immediately.  MetroHealth has four Emergency locations throughout Northeast Ohio.

Learn more about avoiding, spotting and treating heat-related illnesses here.