The Danger
of Summer Heat
Older adults are more vulnerable to the effects of excessive heat and should take care when heat advisories are issued in their area. Keep reading for valuable information about heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them from occurring.
Heat-Related Illnesses and First Aid
Prevent Heat Illness
Heat Advisory Definitions
Additional Resources

Heat-Related Illnesses and First Aid
Various conditions can be caused as a result of excessive heat exposure, ranging from mild to severe. Each should be treated immediately, especially in individuals with other medical conditions.
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Low or no urine output
  • Lack of tear drops/dry eyes
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
First Aid:
  • Replace fluids over the course of 2-4 hours by drinking water, juice or sports drinks
  • Seek medical attention if dehydration is accompanied by extreme thirst, dry skin or mouth, increased heart rate, lethargy, fatigue, dizziness, or confusion, or if symptoms to not improve in 12 to 24 hours
Heat Cramps
  • Muscle cramps and spasms in legs or abdomen
  • Heavy sweating
First Aid:
  • Rest in a cool place and apply light pressure or gentle massage to cramped or spasming muscles
  • Drink fluids such as water, juice or sports drinks
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, headache, shortness of breath, high temperature, lethargy, fatigue, dizziness, or confusion, or if symptoms to not improve in 12 to 24 hours
Heat Rash
  • Skin irritation occurring in a red cluster similar to pimples or small blisters
  • It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts and in elbow creases
First Aid:
  • Move to a cool, dry place and remove or loosen clothing around affected area, allow skin to air dry
  • Keep skin dry and cool
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms are accompanied by increased pain or swelling, drainage of pus occurs, swollen lymph nodes, or fever
Try these products
to stay ahead of heat
related discomfort:
Hot & Cold
Shoulder Wrap
Comfort Wrap
Body Pillow
Heat Exhaustion
  • Headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, fainting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Moist skin
  • Sudden mood changes, such as confusion or irritability
  • Nausea or vomiting
First Aid:
  • Drink fluids such as water, juice or sports drinks, and rest in a cool environment (use cooling measures such as fans or ice towels)
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment (If you don't have air conditioning, consider visiting a shopping mall or public library to cool off)
  • Wear lightweight clothing and do not engage in strenuous activities
  • Seek medical attention if treatment does not provide relief within 30 minutes as heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke
Heat Stroke
  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
First Aid:
  • If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately or transport them to a hospital. as any delay in seeking medical attention can be fatal
  • While waiting for paramedics to arrive, initiate first aid by moving the individual to a cool area and attempting to cool their internal body temperature
Be informed of important terminology that could help you prepare for potentially dangerous summer weather conditions.
Heat Advisory Definitions

Excessive Heat Outlook

Issued when the potential for an excessive heat event may occur within the next 3-7 days. This allows for ample time to prepare for the event, such as scheduling transportation to be in an air-conditioned environment or setting times to check in on at-risk adults.

Excessive Heat Watch

Issued when the conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours.

Excessive Heat Warning or Advisory

Issued when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours or is issued when an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring.

A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life.
Provided by the Arizona Dept.
of Health Services and the CDC
Heat-related illnesses are extremely dangerous but very preventable.
Prevent Heat

Before a Heat Wave
  • Listen to local weather forecasts to be aware of upcoming temperature changes

  • Stay aware of the currenttemperature and heat index (The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the heat index by as much as 15° F.)

  • Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household (or your neighbor or caregiver); determine precautions and alternate solutions for emergency situations such as power outages

  • If you do not have air conditioning, make a list of places you could visit to get relief from heat during the warmest part of the day (library, theater, mall, etc.)

During a Heat Wave
  • Stay informed about weather-related changes by listening to local weather forecasts

  • Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of fluids; avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol

  • Eat small meals more frequently

  • Avoid extreme temperature changes

  • Wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing

  • Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day

  • Eliminate unnecessary physical activity or strain

  • Check in on neighbors who may not have air conditioning or live alone

  • Check on your pets frequently to ensure they have enough water
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