Now that summer has arrived, Central Florida residents can look forward to months of shimmering asphalt, sizzling steering wheels and sky-high electric bills. More worryingly, Polk County residents can also expect an increased chance of developing heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness often accompanied by dehydration, heat exhaustion isn’t a complaint to be taken lightly. Uncontrolled heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke, a serious condition that requires emergency medical attention. Prepare your family for toastier temps by familiarizing yourself with the hallmarks of heat exhaustion, learning what to do when symptoms strike and finding out what you can do to prevent heat-related illness altogether.

Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Rapid heart rate

If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, it’s important to act quickly. Taking cover in a shaded area can offer some reprieve from scorching temps, but going indoors and resting in an air-conditioned space is your best bet. Continue treating suspected heat exhaustion by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • Loosening tight clothing
  • Removing any unnecessary garments
  • Taking a cool bath or shower
  • Applying ice packs to your neck and back

How can you beat the heat?

When the outdoor temperature starts to climb into the 90’s, it’s important to take steps to avoid heat-related illness. For starters, try to stay indoors between the hours of 10:00AM and 6:00PM — it’s the hottest part of the day. If you aren’t able to avoid outdoor activity, protect yourself by taking the following precautions:

  • Stay hydrated. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids, especially water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink up!
  • Wear loose, light-colored, lightweight clothing. A wide-brimmed hat will help shield you from the sun’s harsh rays.
  • Wear sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activities, like yard work and hard exercise.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be made in the shade all summer long.