DES MOINES, IA–According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), extreme heat kills approximately 658 people every year.

How can extreme heat lead to death?

Exposure to extreme heat without taking proper precautions can lead to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. On humid days, sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly as it does on a dry day which makes it difficult for our bodies to cool down without help. The longer the body goes without help, the risk of heat illness turning into death rises.

Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke

It is important to know the difference in symptoms between these two heat-related illnesses because one is more extreme than the other and can lead to death if not treated immediately.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Muscle Cramps

Take Action!

-Get to a cool, air conditioned place
-Drink water
-Take a cool shower or use a cold compress

Heat Stroke

  • Throbbing headache
  • No sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

Take Action!

Call 9-1-1 immediately!

Who is most at risk for heat-related illness?

  • Infants and children up to 4 years old
  • People over 65 years old
  • People who are overweight
  • Those who have existing medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease
  • Those who are socially isolated and poor
  • Participating in strenuous physical activities and/or consuming alcohol can put people at greater risk for heat-related illnesses.

How to prevent illness from heat

  • Dress in light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Drink extra water or drinks that contain electrolytes like sports drinks
  • Limit time outdoors during the hottest part of the day which is typically between 1 and 7 PM.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle. Also never leave pets outside
  • If you work outdoors, take breaks in the shade when possible
  • Check on elderly, disabled, or homebound people