Prevent Heat Related Illnesses

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Date: July 26, 2007
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Unprecedented hot temperatures and dry weather this summer have created additional hazards for hikers in Glacier National Park. Already this year, numerous hikers have fallen ill from heat and heat related incidents. Don’t become a victim of heat illness; it is preventable.

Hike smart. Do not rely on physical strength alone, hiking intelligently will take you much farther.

Drink and eat often. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to replace fluid and electrolytes. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Drink a half to one quart of water or sports drink every hour that you are hiking in the heat.

Eat a salty snack every time you drink. Food is your body’s primary source of fuel and salts (electrolytes) while hiking in the heat.

Wait for the shade. Avoid hiking in the hottest part of the day. Make a realistic plan that will allow you to rest during the hot portion of the day. Do not push yourself to meet a later commitment. Hikes in high mountain terrain often take several hours longer than planned.

Be prepared for changes in the weather. Always carry “the 10 essentials:” flashlight, map and compass, first aid kit, bright colored tarp, rain gear, matches and fire starter, whistle, knife, extra food and water, and extra clothes.

Monitor yourself and your group for signs of heat illness. Signs of heat illness can include weakness, nausea, headache, cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, and changes in mental status. If caught early, most heat illness can be treated with rest, food, water, and shade. If symptoms fail to improve or worsen, get help immediately. Heat illness can be life threatening!

- NPS -

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


(406) 888-7800

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