Everyone is at Risk for Heat Illnesses and Some People are at Higher Risk
Heat illnesses are a real danger, even here in our northern climate. Vermonters go to the emergency room for heat illnesses just as often as people in Maryland. Being young does not protect you from heat illness. In fact, Vermonters between the ages of 15 and 34 have a greater risk of going to the emergency room for a heat-related reason compared to adults aged 35 to 65.
In general, risk for heat illnesses is greater for people with:
More exposure to hot conditions – especially outdoor workers and hobbyists, urban residents and people experiencing homelessness
More sensitivity to heat exposure – anyone not accustomed to hot weather, older adults and young children, people who are overweight or have a chronic medical condition (for example, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes), and people using recreational drugs, alcohol or some prescription medications
Limited resources – especially people who live alone, have limited transportation options, have no air conditioning or can’t afford to run their air conditioner
People who feel unwell or faint in hot weather are also at risk of serious or deadly falls.
People with chronic conditions may not show typical signs of heat illness, but rather worsened symptoms of their condition. If you or someone you know has a potentially dangerous chronic condition and begins to feel sick during a hot day, pay very close attention. Get immediate medical help if you have concerns about someone's condition.