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Overheating: Signs, Symptoms and What to Do

Overheating: Signs, Symptoms and What to Do

Overheating can be a dangerous byproduct of the summer sun. But sometimes it can be difficult to determine if what you're experiencing is heatstroke or just a mild headache.

When the heat index is 91°F or higher, you should do your best to keep cool. People with heatstroke have a body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher. Heatstroke needs immediate medical attention.

Symptoms can include: 

  • Confusion or trouble thinking clearly
  • Fast breathing or a fast heartbeat
  • Skin redness and warmth – The skin might feel moist or dry.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Headaches

Extreme overheating can lead to more serious symptoms, including: 

  • Hallucinating
  • Trouble walking
  • Seizures
  • Passing out

To cool your body down, you can:

  • Spray yourself with cool water and then sit in front of a fan
  • Move into the shade, or go into an air-conditioned building or car
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Drink water or a sports drink. Do not have a drink with alcohol or caffeine.
  • Take off any extra clothing you are wearing
  • Put a cold pack or cool cloth on your neck, armpits, and groin

To be on the safe side: “Plan outdoor exercise and activities for cooler times of the day like early morning or late evening,” says Heather Knight, LPN, practice manager for Valley Health Page Memorial Family Medicine in both Shenandoah and Stanley. “Take several breaks from the heat, especially midday when the sun is the hottest.”