How to recognize heat-related illnesses as temperatures rise

Weather News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — We all know humidity is an issue here in western Massachusetts, but when temperatures jump into the 80s like Wednesday, and especially the 90s, humidity can be dangerous.

The higher the heat index, the higher the risk for heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Heat index is a feels-like temperature that combines temperature and humidity. For example, a temperature of 84 degrees combined with 75 percent humidity can make it feel like the low 90s.

This can be dangerous because the high humidity makes it harder for the sweat on your skin to evaporate, which is what essentially cools us off. The excessive sweating can also lead to loss of fluid or salt in the body.

It’s especially important to recognize the signs of heat illness now that temperatures and humidity are ramping up.

Heat exhaustion can lead to the following symptoms:

  • A faint or dizzy feeling,
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cool and clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A rapid but weak pulse
  • Muscle cramps

Heatstroke, which is more dangerous, can lead to a throbbing headache, no more sweating, high body temperature, nausea or vomiting, a rapid or strong pulse, and potentially loss of consciousness.

Heat exhaustion can be treated with moving to air conditioning, drinking cool water, and taking a cool shower. If you suspect heatstroke, call 911 immediately.

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