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Know the warning signs of heat-related illness

June 17, 2024


It's important to act quickly if you have symptoms of a heat-related illness. Learn these warning signs and stay safe in the heat!

It’s a hot week, Chicago! Enjoy trips to the pool and beach, but take care of yourself, your kids and neighbors as temperatures reach the high 90’s. 


Make sure to stay hydrated and limit your time outdoors. Be on the lookout for heat-related illnesses, which occur when your body’s temperature regulation system becomes overwhelmed due to the excessive heat. These conditions can range from mild to severe and include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Seek medical attention immediately if you are concerned about any of these illnesses or symptoms.


Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that typically occur in the legs, arms, or abdomen. They are often the first sign of heat-related illness and can happen during heavy exercise in hot environments.

Symptoms of heat cramps beyond the muscle spasms include thirst and excessive sweating.

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop all activity and rest in a cool, shaded area. Make sure to drink water or an electrolyte-rich drink, and stretch or gently massage the affected muscles.


Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is more severe than heat cramps and occurs when your body loses too much water and salt through sweating.

Warning signs include heavy sweating, weakness or fatigue, dizziness or fainting, nausea, headache or cool/moist skin with goosebumps even in the heat.

Here’s what to do: move to a cooler environment immediately! Loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet clothes to the skin. Sip water slowly, avoid alcohol and caffeine.If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention right away.



Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and is a medical emergency. It occurs when the body’s temperature rises above 103°F (39.4°C) due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures or intense physical activity in the heat.

The symptoms of heat stroke can include a high body temperature (103°F or higher), hot, red, dry, or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, confusion or altered mental state, seizures and loss of consciousness.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 or seek immediate medical assistance immediately. Move the person to a cooler environment, and try to lower the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath. Do not give the person anything to drink if they are unconscious or vomiting.


When to Seek Urgent Care

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heat-related illness, it’s important to act quickly. For heat cramps and heat exhaustion, following the steps above can often help alleviate symptoms. However, if there’s no improvement, or if symptoms are severe or indicative of heatstroke, seek urgent medical care immediately.

Our urgent care team is here to help you navigate these challenges and provide the care you need. Don’t hesitate to visit us if you’re concerned about your health during the hot weather. Stay cool, stay safe, and enjoy your summer responsibly!

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