Recognizing the signs of heat illness

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

There’s no denying the hot weather makes people uncomfortable, but it can also have serious health implications.

Heat sickness can sneak up on you quickly, becoming a crisis.

This time of year, it’s hot, and then there’s stifling.

“In most of the state, we have this heat advisory in place,” explained WINK News Weather Authority meteorologist Nikki Sheaks.

Our temperatures in Southwest Florida are a bit higher than the norm. The added element of humidity can also impact them.

“With those ‘feels like’ temperatures that we’re currently experiencing in the hundreds, it could be dangerous for people just because our bodies are overheated, and we could get heat illness,” Sheaks said.

The dynamic between temperature and humidity is essential for comfort and well-being. It’s why the WINK News meteorologists monitor the ‘feels like’ measurement.

“Our body cools off by sweating; that sweat evaporates into the atmosphere,” Sheaks said, “but when there’s a lot of moisture in the atmosphere, that process happens much slower, and that’s where we get our ‘feels like’ temperatures.”

The kind of weather we’ve experienced lately can set the stage for heat sickness.

If people aren’t careful, they could find themselves in a downward spiral that starts off so gradually that they may not recognize what is happening.

There are three distinct stages of heat sickness:

  • Heat cramps – the mildest form, which can be treated with water and removing yourself from the heat
  • Heat exhaustion – the second level, which includes symptoms of dizziness, weakness and excessive sweating. In addition to water, people may want a cold compress to help lower their body temperature
  • Heat stroke – the most serious form of heat illness. It may involve confusion, slurred speech, seizures and loss of consciousness. At this point the situation can become life-threating. If heat stroke is suspected, it should prompt a call to 911.

Being in a hot climate, the best remedy is prevention.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.