Summer is in full swing and with the warmer weather comes the increased risk of heat stroke. Many people may not know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, or what to do if they experience symptoms of either. In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers and how to prevent it from happening to you or a loved one!
Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency that can happen to anyone. It occurs when the body’s cooling mechanisms are overcome by heat, resulting in a high core temperature usually above 104 F (or 40 C) in adults and 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 41 Celsius for children; this affects their mental status as well.
According to the CDC, some people are at greater risk than others:
- Infants and young children
- People 65 years of age or older
- People who are overweight
- People who overexert during work or exercise
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion, if left untreated could turn into life threatening heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- muscle weakness
- excessive sweating
- nausea or vomiting
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Systems occur when the body is unable to regulate its own temperature and usually starts with the symptoms of heat exhaustion. This can be due to exposure to high temperatures, strenuous activity in hot weather, or dehydration. The symptoms of heat stroke include:
- severe headache
- confusion or agitation
- loss of consciousness
- alterations in sweating or no sweating
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing
If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately as the condition can be fatal.
There are some steps that you can take to prevent this from happening in the first place. These include:
- staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids (especially water)
- avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks
- avoiding strenuous activity in hot weather
- wearing loose and light-colored clothing
- taking breaks often if you are outdoors in the heat
- If you must be outside in the heat, try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
- check local news for extreme heat alerts
Take the time to check on other people in extreme heat and have them check on you. Heat exhaustion can cause confusion and you may forget what to do to cool down.
Treating Heat Stroke
If you or someone you know does experience symptoms of heat stroke, it is important to seek medical attention immediately as this can be a fatal condition if not treated promptly. If you are unable to get to a doctor or hospital right away, go to a shaded area and try to cool the person down by applying cool water to their skin and fanning them. Remove excess clothing if needed. Do not give them anything to eat or drink until they are able to see a medical professional.
Heat stroke is a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated promptly. By taking some simple precautions and knowing what to do if someone experiences symptoms of heat stroke, you can help prevent this from happening to yourself or a loved one!