Preventing Heat Illness

Fri, 05/26/2023 - 12:00
Environmental Health & Safety
May 26, 2023

Summer is almost here and that means the temperatures are about to heat up in Riverside! 

Heat is a hazard of working (or being) outdoors and it's important that you know how to prevent heat illness, including recognizing the symptoms and responding to signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  

Who’s most at risk for a heat-related illness? 

  • Those who work in the heat 
  • Infants and young children, especially if left in hot cars 
  • People 65 and older 
  • People who are ill, have chronic health conditions or are on certain medications 
  • People who are overweight 

While heat illness affects individuals in these categories, it can happen to anyone. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat illness can be a matter of life and death.  

What is Heat Exhaustion? 

When the body loses excessive water and salt, usually due to sweating, heat exhaustion can occur. According to the free NSC First Aid Quick Reference app, signs and symptoms include: 

  • Pale, ashen or moist skin 
  • Muscle cramps (especially for those working or exercising outdoors in high temperatures) 
  • Fatigue, weakness or exhaustion 
  • Headache, dizziness or fainting 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Rapid heart rate 

Uncontrolled heat exhaustion can evolve into heat stroke, so make sure to treat victims quickly: 

  • Move victims to a shaded or air-conditioned area 
  • Give water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages 
  • Apply wet towels, or have victims take a cool shower 

What is Heat Stroke? 

Seek medical help immediately if someone is suffering from heat stroke. Signs include: 

  • Body temperature above 103 degrees 
  • Skin that is flushed, dry and hot to the touch; sweating has usually stopped 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Headache, dizziness, confusion or other signs of altered mental status 
  • Irrational or belligerent behavior 
  • Convulsions or unresponsiveness 

Join us for a Heat Illness training on June 1st from 1:00pm – 2:00pm to learn more about Heat Illness and what you can to prevent, recognize and respond to a heat related medical emergency. You can join the training in person at EH&S (register in the UCLC) or remotely via Zoom (register online).  

For questions or additional resources, please visit or contact