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Reviewed 3/11/2024

Heat illness: True or false?

Hot weather can make you sick. So can working in a bakery, a factory or another hot environment. How much do you know about heat-related illness?

True or false: When your body gets hot, it cools itself by sweating.

True. Sweat too much, however, and your body starts losing water, salt and minerals at a rapid pace. That sets the stage for heat stress and illness if you don't replace them.

True or false: Heatstroke is the most dangerous heat-related illness and is a medical emergency.

True. Heatstroke occurs when your body's temperature rises faster than sweating can cool it down. Within 10 minutes or so, your body's temperature can reach 106 degrees or higher. Without quick treatment, heatstroke can lead to disability or death.

True or false: When it's humid outside, the dampness in the air helps cool your body off.

False. Humidity makes hot days even more uncomfortable. When humidity levels are high, sweat doesn't evaporate as quickly as it should. That prevents the body from releasing heat and cooling off.

True or false: Young children are less likely to experience heat-related illness than adults.

False. Infants and young children are among those most at risk for heat stress. Also at risk are people age 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions.

True or false: The best protection against heat-related illness is sunscreen.

False. Air conditioning is the No. 1 protective factor against heat illness and death. If your home isn't equipped with air conditioning and a heat wave strikes, spend as much time as possible in shopping malls, libraries, movie theaters and public cooling centers.

One way to avoid overheating is to drink plenty of water.

How much water is enough?

Tips to prevent and treat heat illness


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