Extreme heat safety tips: What to know about heat stroke vs. heat exhaustion

Cut down on exercise during heat waves and rest often.

August 30, 2022, 9:02 AM

A dangerous and possibly record-breaking heat wave is heading to the West Coast -- and it's expected to last from Wednesday to Labor Day.

Temperatures on Wednesday are forecast to skyrocket to 114 degrees in Palm Springs; 105 in Fresno, California; 113 in Las Vegas; 108 in Phoenix; 101 in Medford, Oregon; 105 in Boise; and 102 in Yakima, Washington.

Doctors recommend taking excessive heat warnings seriously. There are hundreds of deaths each year in the U.S. due to excessive heat, according to CDC WONDER, an online database, and scientists caution that the actual number of heat-related deaths is likely higher.

Here are tips to stay safe from the heat from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Wear sunscreen

Take precautions to prevent sunburn, which can make you dehydrated and affect your ability to cool down.

Use sunscreen that's SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside. Sunscreens that say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" are best.

Stay hydrated

Drink extra fluids, and don't wait until you're thirsty.

PHOTO: A man sells bottles of water in sweltering heat on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia.
A man sells bottles of water in sweltering heat on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia.
Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Avoid very sugary drinks and alcohol, which can cause your body to lose more fluid, and be wary of extra-cold drinks that may cause stomach cramps.

Avoiding hot and heavy meals also can reduce your body's overall temperature.

Limit time outside

Cut down on exercise during heat waves and rest often and in shady areas.

PHOTO: People sit in the shade as children play with water in downtown Chicago on June 14, 2022.
People sit in the shade as children play with water in downtown Chicago on June 14, 2022.
Vincent D. Johnson/Xinhua via Newscom

Try to limit your time outside to when it is cooler, like in the early morning and evening.

Check the car

Never leave children in a parked car -- even if windows are cracked open.

Monitor high-risk loved ones

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness at any time, but these people are at greater risk:

-- Babies and young children -- Overweight people -- Those 65 years old or older -- People who overexert during work or exercise -- Those who suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure and those who take certain medications, including for depression, insomnia or poor circulation

Watch for signs of illness

Symptoms of heat stroke include: -- Body temperature of 103 degrees or higher-- Hot, red, dry or damp skin-- Fast, strong pulse-- Headache-- Dizziness-- Nausea-- Confusion-- Passing out-- No longer sweating

PHOTO: Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
ABC News Photo Illustration

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: -- Heavy sweating-- Cold, pale, clammy skin-- Fast, weak pulse-- Nausea or vomiting -- Muscle cramps-- Feeling tired or weak-- Headache-- Passing out

PHOTO: Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
ABC News

If someone shows symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, call 911, move them somewhere cooler and use towels to cool down their body.

Don't forget about your furry friends!

PHOTO: A Rhodesian Ridgeback named Aiden cools off with a fan before competeing at the 146th annual Westminster Kennel Club, in Tarrytown, N.Y., June 20, 2022.
A Rhodesian Ridgeback named Aiden cools off with a fan before competeing at the 146th annual Westminster Kennel Club, in Tarrytown, N.Y., June 20, 2022.
Justin Lane/EPA via Shutterstock

Here are some tips from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for how to keep your pets safe in the heat: provide plenty of fresh water so they don't get dehydrated; don't over-exercise pets; never leave pets alone in a parked car; and watch for symptoms of overheating, which include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate and drooling.

Animals with flat faces, like pugs, can't pant as well and are more at risk of heat stroke. These pets, as well as older and overweight pets, should be kept inside as much as possible.

Tips to keep your pets safe in the heat.
Tips to keep your pets safe in the heat.
ABC News Photo Illustration
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