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As Temperature Climbs, Get Smart About Heatstroke

four ways you can prevent heatstroke this summer

As we enter the hottest months of the year and spend more time outdoors, we need to be cautious of heatstroke. HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals recommend taking the following measures to prevent heatstroke, which could cause serious complications or death:

Wear loose-fitting clothes. Loose fitting clothes allow your body to cool properly.

Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help you maintain a normal body temperature and will help your body sweat. 

Protect yourself against sunburn. Use sunscreen, reapplying every two hours, as well as hats and sunglasses to protect against sunburns. Sit IN the shade from time to time.

Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. Try to schedule outdoor activities in the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or the evening. The hottest part of the day is generally 10am to 3pm. 

Heatstroke can require emergency treatment to prevent serious complications or death, especially for those who are most vulnerable such as infants and children, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people on certain medications. If you suspect someone is experiencing a heatstroke, call 911 or seek medical assistance immediately.

Heatstroke signs and symptoms include:

  • High body temperature. The main sign of heatstroke is a core body temperature of 104 degrees or higher.
  • Altered mental state or behavior. If a person is confused, agitated, slurring their speech, irritable, delirious or experiences a seizure and they have been in a hot environment, suspect heatstroke.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Vomiting may occur.
  • Flushed skin. An increase in body temperature can lead to skin turning red.
  • Rapid breathing. Breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate. When a person experiences heatstroke, the heart works overtime to help cool the body, therefore increasing the heart rate.
  • Headache. Heatstroke can cause a throbbing headache.

(Photo by Guian Bolisay / CC BY-SA 2.0)

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