Not only do the temperatures typically soar in August here in New York City, the asphalt and concrete jungle we live in tends to retain the heat, making things even hotter. As a result, people can fall prey to heat-related illnesses if they’re not careful, which is why we’re focusing on the subject here.
At Forest Urgent Care, our highly qualified team of medical providers understands the potential risks of having too much fun in the sun, and we want you to be able to recognize the signs so you can quickly seek our help.
Common heat-related illnesses
When we refer to heat-related illnesses, we’re referring to conditions that lead to hyperthermia, a condition in which your body is unable to control its temperature.
There are several types of heat-related illnesses, including:
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat cramps
- Heat rashes
- Heat syncope
If you’re active outdoors in the heat, another threat, though highly uncommon, is rhabdomyolysis, which occurs when you do extensive damage to your muscles. This condition can occur any time, but if you’re out in the heat and you’re not hydrating properly, your muscles are more susceptible to damage.
Signs of a heat-related illness
Many heat-related illnesses share the same symptoms, but we’re still going to break them out according to the six conditions we list above.
With heat stroke, your body’s core temperature rises too quickly. You may experience confusion, altered speech, profuse sweating, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
When you develop heat exhaustion, you may experience nausea, headache, dizziness, weakness, heavy sweating, and excessive thirst. Heat exhaustion is a form of dehydration.
If you haven’t hydrated properly, your muscles can seize up and begin to cramp.
If you’re sweating excessively, your skin may develop a rash, usually around your neck, upper chest, groin, and in creases like your elbows.
This is caused by dehydration and lack of acclimatization. The hallmark of heat syncope is fainting and dizziness, especially when you first stand up or you’ve been standing for long periods.
This condition typically makes itself known through painful muscle cramping, dark urine, and exercise intolerance.
Treating heat-related illnesses
If you think you’ve developed a heat-related illness, it’s important that you stop what you’re doing, seek shade and water, and then come see us. If your condition is serious, such as a heat stroke, please call 911 immediately.
If you have more questions about heat-related illnesses, don't hesitate to contact one of our New York offices in Forest Hills or Hunters Point in Long Island City.