How to identify heat-related illnesses in both people and pets

Weather Blog

(Getty)

INDIANAPOLIS – The heat and humidity are cranking through this week. These conditions can be dangerous for both people and pets. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat-related illnesses occur when the body cannot properly cool itself. The body normally cools itself by sweating. During extreme heat, the body’s temperature might rise faster than it can cool, which can cause damage to vital organs.

Some common signs can be:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Muscle pain

Different heat-related illnesses can show different signs. Heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn, and heat rash each have different symptoms and what to do when those symptoms show.

In any event, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What about your pets?

Much like people, our pets can suffer from extreme heat too.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, here are some common signs of heatstroke in animals:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lack of coordination
  • Profuse salivation
  • Vomiting

The CDC and the Humane Society of the United States remind everyone to stay hydrated, stay inside during extreme heat if they can, and never leave their pets or anyone inside a hot car. 

Within minutes, cars can reach dangerous temperatures on warm days. According to the National Weather Service, on a day when the air temperature is 80°, the temperature inside a car can reach 100° in just 10 minutes! This can cause organ damage to both people and pets.

Hot pavement can cause severe damage to the paws of your pets. According to Climate Central, temperatures above 77°F can cause asphalt temperatures to climb into the triple digits. The higher the air temperature, the higher the asphalt temperatures and the more damage that can be done to paws. The humane society recommends walking your pets for short times during the early afternoon and late evening when temperatures are not as high.

Here are a few other reminders from the CDC during extreme heat:

  • Wear lightweight and light colored clothing
  • Stay inside if you can to stay cool
  • Stay hydrated
  • Wear plenty of sunscreen
  • Check on the elderly
  • Never leave your pets outside during extreme heat
  • Stay updated on heat alerts if you area

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