Fitness

How to Help Prevent Heat Stroke

2 Mins read
Prevent Heat Stroke

In recent years, extreme heat has claimed more lives than any other natural calamity. From 1999 to 2009, heat-related fatalities averaged 658 per year in the US alone12. As temperatures rise, so does our susceptibility to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Recognizing the warning signs and implementing preventative measures can mean the difference between a healthy, enjoyable summer and a potentially fatal incident.

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most common issues that arise from prolonged exposure to high temperatures3. Heat exhaustion is the initial stage of overheating and can manifest in various symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Staggering
  • Paleness
  • Profuse sweating
  • Weak pulse
  • Faint breathing

Managing Heat Exhaustion

Without immediate intervention, heat exhaustion can swiftly escalate to heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition. If you or someone around you exhibits symptoms of heat exhaustion, the following steps can help prevent advancement to heat stroke:

  1. Move to a shady location or an air-conditioned room.
  2. Lie down and stay calm.
  3. Take small, frequent sips of cool water or a sports drink.
  4. Seek medical help if symptoms persist.

Identifying Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a severe condition that affects the body’s ability to sweat and regulate temperature. Here are some symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Severe headache
  • Red face
  • Hot, dry skin devoid of sweat
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately. While waiting for emergency services, transfer the person to a cool place, ideally an air-conditioned room or a shady area, and loosen their clothing.

Strategies to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

Whether you are working or enjoying recreational activities in the sun, the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke increases with the temperature. Here are some tips to keep you safe:

  • Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, soda, or fruit juice4.
  • Don a hat and light-colored clothing5.
  • Try to restrict strenuous activities to cooler parts of the day.
  • Take frequent breaks and rest if you feel tired or weak.
  • Be mindful that certain medications may increase your sensitivity to sun and heat exposure.
  • Utilize air conditioning instead of fans when the air temperature is above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Apply wet towels to your neck or wear a wet headband to help beat the heat.
  • Hydrate regularly with water or sports drinks6.

With these precautions, you can enjoy the warm weather while staying safe and healthy.

Sources

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute professional, legal, or health advice. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Do you have any other strategies to prevent heat-related illnesses? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Footnotes

  1. Red Cross 
  2. CDC 
  3. CDC 
  4. NCCEH 
  5. Red Cross 
  6. AAOS 

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