Heat Stroke Danger: Know the Signs!

Heat kills. According to official government data from the CDC, heat stroke claims more than 600 lives, on average, in the U.S. every year.

Heat stroke typically occurs after long periods of working, exercising or playing in high temperatures. As your body loses water and salt through excessive sweating, these natural cooling mechanisms can become stressed and can no longer keep us cool. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in a matter of minutes.

Heat stroke requires emergency treatment. If left untreated, heat stroke can damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or even death.

Photo Credit: The U.S. Army via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit: The U.S. Army via Flickr (Creative Commons)

While heat stroke is more common among young kids and older adults, athletes, and people who work outside, heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, can happen to anyone, regardless of age.

Heat Stroke: Know the Signs

As we head into the dog days of summer, make sure you know the warning signs of heat stroke. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of heat stroke include:

  1. Hot, red skin
  2. Racing Heart Rate
  3. Rapid breathing
  4. Chills
  5. Throbbing Headache
  6. Nausea and vomiting
  7. High body temperature
  8. Confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, or even hallucinations
Credit: Dennis Jernberg via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Credit: Dennis Jernberg via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Heat stroke can lead to permanent disability or death. Minutes matter. Take the following steps to treat someone you suspect someone has heat stroke:

• Call 911.
• Move the affected person to a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area.
• Cool the affected person by: Soaking their clothes with water; spraying, sponging, or showering them with water; and fanning their body.
• Provide liquid or sports drinks containing electrolytes.

Be Safe
If you must be outdoors when temperatures soar, take the following steps to stay safer:
Drink water or a sports drink every hour whether you feel like it or not (thirst is a late indicator of dehydration). Avoid coffee and alcohol, as these will dehydrate you.
Sunburn can make you more vulnerable to heat stroke. Avoiditi by wearing a hat, and loose-fitting and light-colored clothes. Apply sunscreen before heading outside.
Take breaks and rest in the shade or in an air-conditioned building during the hottest part of the day.

Credit: Guian Bolisay via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Credit: Guian Bolisay via Flickr (Creative Commons)


Be Prepared. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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This entry was posted in Heat, Summer, When Weather Attacks! and tagged .