Jumping June: Heat Related Illness

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Jumping June: Heat Related Illness

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Summertime is a great chance to get outside and enjoy the warm weather, but one thing to always keep in mind is heat-related illness. In this post, we’ll review signs and symptoms of highly preventable heat-related illnesses that keep you less than Better than Your Best!


A common heat-related illness is sunburn. Caused by too much exposure to the sun’s harmful UVB rays, sunburn causes delayed and prolonged redness, warmth, and tenderness to the affected skin. Severe sunburns may also develop swelling or skin blisters, and repeated burning increases overall chances of developing skin cancer later in life. 

Although commonly experienced, sunburns are preventable with application of sunscreen before and throughout outdoor activities. Should a sunburn develop, protect skin by limiting its exposure to the sun, and apply a moisturizing lotion or gel for pain relief until the skin heals.

Heat Cramps

Participating in outdoor activities during the summer also increases the chances of experiencing heat cramps. This phenomena is commonly described as unusual muscle spasming and/or pain and is often accompanied by excessive sweating.

Fortunately, heat cramps are usually reversible with early detection. Rest from the outdoor activity by moving to a cool place and rehydrating with water or a sports drink. Do not resume activity until the cramping is resolved. 

Heat cramps may require medical attention in special circumstances, such as if the cramping lasts more than one hour or if you have pre-existing heart conditions. 

Heat Exhaustion

A more serious progression from heat cramps is heat exhaustion. Excessive sweating and muscle cramping are seen as well as generalized weakness, a fast/weak pulse, dizziness, cold/clammy/pale skin, or possible fainting. 

Take extra steps to reduce body temperature if suffering from heat exhaustion. In addition to relocating to a cooler area and sipping water, loosen any tight clothing and try applying cool, wet cloths to the neck, chest, elbow creases, and groin. Call for medical services if there is vomiting or symptoms worsen or last more than one hour.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. Symptoms include nausea/vomiting, a fast/strong pulse, hot/red/dry skin, body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, and loss of consciousness. 

Unlike other heat-related illnesses, immediately call 911 if someone is experiencing heat stroke. While waiting for medical services to arrive, move the person to a safer area and use cool, damp cloths to lower body temperature but DO NOT give anything to drink.

While outdoor activities in the summertime have a higher risk of causing these heat-related illnesses, preparation for being in the sun and recognizing the signs and symptoms will keep you going strong all season long!

If you feel less than 100% this summer, give one of our clinics a call, and our therapists will create a plan to get you back to Better than Your Best!!

Rachel DiMario, PT, DPT