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What you need to know about heat-related illness during Montana's heat wave

People need to be extra cautious of heat-related illnesses with temperatures nearing or hitting 100º in parts of Montana
Heat Safety Kalispell
Heat exhaustion heat stroke
Posted at 7:28 AM, Jul 10, 2024

KALISPELL — Summer has arrived in Montana, and we have hit our first heat wave.

With temperatures nearing or hitting 100º, people need to be extra cautious of heat-related illnesses. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are the main concerns for people who are outside in this weather.

While we’re all excited for summer to have finally arrived, it is important to be prepared.

“Well yeah, we're all excited to get this beautiful weather and so we have to be careful and think about kind of how the day is going to play out. So when you're getting ready to go out on a hot day, you need to wear the right kind of clothing. So some light summer clothing, something that's pretty loose, with that, you're going to have your water bottle ready and get your sunblock in your bag and have a nice sun hat ready for you as well,” - Logan Health Academic Educator Kevin Millonig

Some of the things you can do to combat the heat are stay in shaded areas, put a wet rag or bandana around your neck, and be sure to drink a lot of cold water.

“Even if you're not thirsty, you just want to hydrate throughout the whole day. If you're sweating, you're losing water. So you just need to make sure that you're drinking throughout the entire day,” said Millonig.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very dangerous illnesses and, according to Logan Health, lead to around 300 deaths per year.

Some signs to watch out for are a headache and dizziness, if symptoms progress into confusion and lethargy, you may be approaching heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion heat stroke

“So at that point, you really need to stop doing what you're doing. Get in a cool area, put some cold rags on your cooldown, and seek medical attention if you need it,” said Millonig.

Another thing to be aware of is children being outside and playing.

“Watch out for the kids because they may not realize how hot they're getting. So you kind of got to look out for those guys and make sure they're taking breaks and cooling off as well,” said Millonig.

If possible, avoid being outside during the hottest parts of the day and seek air-conditioned areas whenever possible.

“It's really important when the temperatures get hot like this and to really stay safe and protect yourself. You know when you're out having fun, you got to be aware of what's going on,” said Millonig.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about heat safety here.