Symptoms of heat exhaustion, heatstroke and heat cramps

The number one thing to do all day - stay hydrated. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

An Excessive Heat Warning and a Heat Advisory will cover the entire D.C. area starting at noon Friday, so if you can avoid being outside if you don't have to be, it's advised that you stay where it's cool.

If you don't have that choice, however, it's important to recognize just how dangerous extended exposure to this kind of heat can be. Illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are all very real dangers if you don't pay close attention to your body.

Here are the signs and symptoms, according to WebMD, of those three heat-related illnesses and how you can treat them if symptoms begin to set in.

Illness Symptoms
Treatment Heat cramps Painful, brief cramping or spasming of muscles during heat exposure Hydrate with water or an electrolyte drink. Move to a cool, air-conditioned area. Heat exhaustion Confusion, dizziness, fainting, mild headache, cramps, nausea, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, dark urine Hydrate with plenty of water. Take off tight-fitting clothing. Go inside to a cool, air-conditioned room. Take a cold shower or apply cold towels to the skin. Heatstroke Throbbing headache, dizziness or fainting, sweating stops, skin turns red, dry and hot, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath Call 911, then move the victim into the shade or inside a cold room. Apply cold water or ice packs to the armpits, groin, neck and back. Take the victim to a hospital for treatment.