For many, summertime means going on vacation, relaxing by the pool and being active outdoors, enjoying the sun. But these situations, while enjoyable, can lead to several heat-related injuries, especially if you can’t cool down under some shade or indoors, in the comfort of air conditioning.

According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the years between 1999 and 2010, there were over 7,400 deaths attributed to excessive natural heat. Here are four tips to help you identify and treat a range of common heat-related health issues.

1. Severe sunburn. It’s very easy to get sunburned, and without proper care, sunburn can easily become dangerous. The symptoms of severe sunburn include painful red skin, possible blisters and headaches. First-aid remedies include taking a cool shower, drinking cool water and covering the affected area with a clean dressing. If the pain is severe, seek medical attention.

2. Heat cramps. These present themselves as painful spasms in the legs or other parts of the body. First-aid remedies for heat cramps include seeking cover out of the sun and sipping cool water. It’s also important to try and gently stretch cramping areas. If the condition does not improve, or it worsens, seek medical attention.

3. Heat exhaustion. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness. To remedy heat exhaustion, sit down, apply cool, moist compresses and sip cool water. You should also loosen any tight-fitting clothing. If the condition does not improve or worsens, seek medical attention.

4. Heat stroke. A very serious condition, heat stroke symptoms including fainting, dry skin, hot skin and nausea. For first aid, contact emergency services or call 911. Move to an air-conditioned area. Lie down. Apply cool compresses. Remove as much clothing as possible.

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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE TM Fall 2014 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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