Summer is the season for working and playing outdoors at IUP. It’s also the time to emphasize the importance of preventing and treating heat-related illnesses.

Heat-related illnesses peak from June through August each year as the US experiences its highest temperatures. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists five different types of heat illness:

  • Heat stroke: a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 103° F in minutes
  • Heat exhaustion: an illness that can precede heatstroke
  • Heat cramps: muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise
  • Sunburn: painful, red and warm skin, possible blisters
  • Heat rash: skin irritation from excessive sweating

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the two most dangerous conditions—call 911 immediately if heat stroke is suspected.

Signs of heat stroke are:

  • High body temperature, above 103 degrees
  • Hot, red, dry skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Possible unconsciousness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion

Call 911, and move the person to a cooler environment. Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath, but do not give fluids.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps

Move the person to a cooler location and have them lie down while loosening their clothing. Apply wet, cool cloths to as much of the body as possible, and have them sip water.

Here are more tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.