Three main heat-related illnesses are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke (or sun stroke). Intense exposure to hot temperatures is the main cause for these illnesses. Your body works to cool itself down in the heat, and while doing so, less blood reaches your muscles, brain, and other organs. This interferes with both your mental capacity and physical strength. In some cases, this can lead to extreme danger. 


Most heat-related illnesses can be avoided by reducing excessive exposure to high temperatures as well as taking other precautionary steps. Ones who are most at risk are those who work in humid or hot environments such as bakeries, manufacturing plants, or construction sites during the summer. Long, hot days can cause problems too if warning signs are ignored. 

With the correct treatment, most people who suffer from heat-related illnesses can recover completley. Heat stroke can be deadly if it isn’t properly managed. 

Heat-related illnesses are more common to the ederly, the young, the obese, alcoholics, and people’s whose immune systems can be at a greater risk. Individuals who are taking drugs such as antipsychotic medications, antihistamines, and cocaine. 

The reasons that people have heat-related illnesses have two main categories: exercise-associated heat exhaustion or heat stroke and non-exertional classic heat stroke. 

Although all three of these heat-related illnesses all occur because your body isn’t allowed to cool itself properly, each one is a bit different than the other. 

Heat cramps can happen when the body  loses essential nutrients like magnesium and potassium along with the loss of excessive amounts of salts and fluids usually occurs during heavy exercise. 

Heat exhaustion happens when your body loses huge amounts of salt and water through heavy exercise or hard physical labor.  The loss of essential fluids can interfere with circulation and brain function. Those who have lung, heart, or kidney problems or have to stick to low-sodium diets may be more vulnerable to heat exhaustion. 

Heat stroke is the most serious of all the heat-related illnesses, this occurs when the body suffers from intense exposure to the heat for a long time and loses its ability to cool itself. Staying in the heat for a long time, part of the brain that normally is in charge of the temperature malfunctions. There is also a decrease in the body’s ability to sweat, therefore cannot cool down.  Individuals who have certain medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or scleroderma, may have a greater risk of developing heat stroke.