Keep Heat Stroke at Bay this Summer
This summer has been filled with hotter than normal days, many times reaching over 100°F. Despite the heat, many of us are trying to fit in a bit more summer fun before school starts. While out and about, It’s important to be aware of the symptoms for heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within ten to fifteen minutes. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Very high body temperature
Heat stroke can be fatal if treatment is delayed. If you think someone may be experiencing heat stroke, call 911 for emergency medical care. If possible, move the person to a shaded, cool area and remove outer clothing. You can also help them cool quickly by wetting their skin and circulating the air around them to speed cooling. This can be done by placing cold wet cloths on their skin or soaking their clothing with cool water. Proper placement of cold wet cloths or ice go on their head, neck, armpits, and groin.
Other Heat-Related Illnesses
Heat Exhaustion is also common during the summer. It is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Heat exhaustion is most likely to affect the elderly, people with high blood pressure, and those working in hot environments. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, heavy sweating, elevated body temperature, and decreased urine output.
Heat Cramps usually affect workers who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture levels. Low salt levels in muscles cause painful cramps and heat cramps can also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. Symptoms are muscle cramps, pain, or spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs.
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. They can appear as red clusters of pimples or small blisters. They usually show up on the neck, upper chest, groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.
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Heat Stroke and related information provided by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website.