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Real Life Stories from Excessive Heat Victims

Sabrina, Lake Tahoe, CA, 1991

It was the summer of 1991. I had a day off from working at a summer camp in South Lake Tahoe, CA, so I decided to hike Mt. Talac, 10 miles, often running. I chose to hike alone, without water, and I did not check the weather. It turned out to be a hot day with no breeze. I brought a juice box and told myself I wouldn't need more. When I got thirsty, I melted a handful of snow. When I returned to camp, I was clammy, shaking, ash gray, had a splitting headache, and felt nauseous. I looked and felt awful; the camp nurse said I had heat exhaustion. It took over a day to recover. Don't be lazy. Always have plenty of water. I'm lucky I survived that lesson.

Catherine, Longview, TX, 2016

I felt so sick when I moved to Longview, TX, from Alabama. It's a different kind of heat. I felt nauseous and probably needed water. I had to get bottled water since our water tastes and smells funny since we have fracking in our area. I was very nauseous and throwing up everything for a week. It's imperative to have water and a/c at all times.

Brandon, Pittsgrove, NJ, June 2015

Once I decided to take a 5 mile run on a 95 degree day with high humidity. Towards the fourth mile, my excessive sweating began to slow down, I began to shiver, my lungs and muscles got really tight and I began to have stabbing pains in my chest. I got home later and weighed myself. I had lost over 10 pounds of water. I was running by myself and I was out of shape at the time. If I had collapsed no one would have found me on the side of the road fallen in the woods.

Carol, 1960s

I had heat exhaustion twice as a high school students in the 1960s. Both times I was in a physical education class time in mid-to-late spring held outdoors when both the air temperature and humidity were very high. There was not enough time after I'd come back into the school building to take a shower before I'd need to change from my gym suit to what I'd worn to classes. There was no air conditioning in the high school building at that time. I remember feeling dizzy and constantly having to leave the classroom to get cold water at a water fountain or using the girls bathroom to apply cold water to my face, neck and arms and try to cool myself down. Both times, I ended up going to the school nurse's office lying down until the dizziness had passed, more than 2 hours.

James, Arizona, 2015

I came down with heat exhaustion in just 15 minutes in 105 degrees on a airport ramp because of salt depletion and wearning the wrong clothing. It took me a long painful day to recover and I was lucky. I had a strange reaction, bringing me to my knees and trying to recover my vision and not become sick to my stomach. It comes upon a person unaware.