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Signs and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash during the summer

We broke down the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and shared tips for how to stay safe during the sweltering days of summer.

AUSTIN, Texas — Central Texas is heating up for the summer, and that means days with temperatures over 100 degrees.

“If you are new to Austin or a long-time resident, we want people to prepare for summer hazards and enjoy the season safely,” said Aoife Longmore, deputy director for Austin's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “It is important for people to be aware of the measures they can take to protect themselves, loved ones and pets.” 

The City of Austin wants to remind people to take precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Officials say people should keep cool, stay hydrated, and if you have to be outdoors, wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

There are differences between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion symptoms: 

  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fast, weak pulse

If you see someone with these symptoms, you need to act quickly. You want to move the person to a cooler area immediately, loosen their clothing and have them sip cool water slowly.

If the person's symptoms don't improve, last longer than an hour or they begin to vomit, seek medical help immediately.

Heat stroke symptoms:

  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Body temperature above 103 F
  • Lethargy or loss of consciousness

If you see someone with these symptoms, you need to act quickly because heat stroke can cause death or permanent damage if emergency treatment is not given. You need to move the person to a cooler area, preferably with air conditioning, and bring down their body temperature with cool clothes or a bath. You should also not give fluids or anything by mouth to a person suffering from heat stroke.

Heat Rash Symptoms:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people can come down with heat rash, which is skin irritation. It is caused by excessive sweating during the hot and humid weather.

Symptoms include: 

  • Red clusters that look like pimples or small blisters
  • It can appear on the neck, upper chest, groin, under the breasts and in elbow creases

Staying safe while working outdoors

The City has a rest break ordinance to make sure those who work outdoors are beating the heat. According to the ordinance, employees working at a construction site can take a rest break for at least 10 minutes for every four hours. There should also be fluids and shade nearby for employees to cool off.

Pet safety

When taking care of your pets during these summertime months, make sure there is shade nearby and you have plenty of cool water on hand. The City is reminding pet owners that asphalt and dark pavement can be hot on your pet's feet, which can cause burns or blisters.

Car safety

Make sure to look before you lock. Temperatures in vehicles can reach dangerous temperatures quickly. The City urges drivers to check for children, pets and adults in the back seat before exiting their vehicle. 

Officials also say if you see someone locked in a hot car, you should take action and call 9-1-1 immediately because it can save a life.

Cooling centers

Throughout the summer, the City will have several facilities open to help people cool off. These facilities include libraries and recreation centers, which will be open during normal operating hours.

If you have a service animal, they will be allowed in City facilities.

Capital Metro will be offering free rides to cooling centers all summer.

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