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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Heat Stress

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During our hot summers, it is important to remember that working and playing outdoors in the heat and humidity can lead to heat-related illnesses.

Warning signs of heat stress vary, but may include:

• Heavy Sweating
• Paleness
• Muscle cramps
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
• Fainting
• Cool, moist skin
• Fast or weak pulse rate
• Rapid, shallow breathing
• Tiredness (may be the only sign from an infant)

Seek help immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing severe signs of heat stress. Cool off and call 911 if the condition worsens or last longer than one hour.

Tips for preventing heat stress include:

Cover up. Wear lightweight, light colored, and loose-fitting, but tightly woven clothes that block out light.

Use sunscreen. Choose sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Be sure to follow application directions on the bottle.

Wear a hat. A wide brim hat (not a baseball cap) is best because it protects the neck, forehead, ears, eyes, nose, and scalp.

Limit sun and heat exposure. The sun’s rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Avoid being outdoors during periods of high heat, and in hot enclosed places where air cannot circulate.

Drink lots of water. Drink about 1 cup (8 ounces) every 15 minutes. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or heavy meals - these can make you less tolerant to heat.

Rest Often. Rest in the shade or a cool (air-conditioned) place.

Additional Resources

Heat Stress Fact Sheet (793.28kb; pdf)