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Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses for The Dog Days of Summer

Have you ever heard the saying, “The Dog Days of Summer“?
Have you ever wondered what it really means or where the term came from?

The Dog Days” refers to the sultriest period of summer from about July 3rd to August 11th when the sun is high and it’s hot & muggy outside. Sirius is the brightest star in the Canis Major constellation and is thusly named, The Dog Star. In early times, observers of the night sky from the Mediterranean area noticed that Sirius rose and set with the sun. Hence, this period of time from 20 days before this conjunction to 20 days after, was named “The Dog Days“, after The Dog Star.

There have already been record breaking heat waves throughout the country this summer. To help arm you and your loved ones against heat related illnesses, please take care to remember the following symptoms about how excessive heat can affect your body.

There are different types of heat related illnesses ranging from those that cause temporary discomfort to the generally fatal condition known as heat stroke.

Heat Cramps: painful muscle spasms in the arms, legs, or abdomen. Body temperature will usually remain normal and the skin will feel moist and cool, but sweaty.

Heat Syncope (Fainting): sudden onset of dizziness or fainting after exposure to high temperatures. Skin will appear pale and sweaty, but cool to the touch. The pulse may be weakened, but the heart rate is usually rapid. Body temperature will remain normal.

Heat Exhaustion: This is a warning that the body is getting too hot. A person with heat exhaustion may be thirsty, giddy, weak, uncoordinated, nauseous, or sweating profusely. Body temperature is usually normal and the heart rate will be normal or elevated. Skin is usually cold and clammy. Those most prone to heat exhaustion include the elderly, people with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in hot temperatures.

Heat Stroke: This is a serious, life-threatening condition that occurs when the body loses the ability to control its temperature. During a heat stroke, a fever develops that rapidly rises to dangerous levels within minutes. Body temperatures will usually be 104 F or more. Other symptoms may include confusion, combativeness, bizarre behavior, feeling faint, staggering, strong/rapid pulse, dry flushed skin, or lack of sweating. Delirium or coma can result from heat stroke. Victims of heat stroke must seek immediate medical attention as it can be fatal if not treated.

The information herein is meant as an informational FYI only and is not complete or meant to substitute professional medical advice. If you believe a person’s life is in danger due to a heat related illness, seek professional medical help immediately or call 9-1-1.

Satellite Shelters, Inc. wishes you a fun, but safe, summer!

Discover more information about Satellite Shelters, Inc. at our website: www.satelliteco.com

Dog Days Origin information from the Dog Days article found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_Days
Heat Related Illnesses information from the How to Recognize a Heat-Related Illness article found at: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=63208

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