As the summer progresses, temperatures continue to rise, with some parts of the country experiencing record highs. In fact, several independent studies have determined that the first five months of 2015 were the warmest of any year on record. With this blistering heat, you’re probably focused on protecting your skin from the sun. But what about the other dangers of such high temperatures? Are you doing all you can to protect yourself and your family from heat stroke?
Heat stroke, also known as sun stroke, is a heat related medical emergency. Primarily impacting people over the age of 50, it can affect anyone, even young, healthy, athletic people. This condition results from extended exposure to high temperatures, often combined with dehydration, resulting in failure of your body to regulate its temperature. If not immediately addressed, heat stroke can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, muscles, and even the brain. The longer the condition continues, the worse the damage, and untreated heat stroke can result in serious complications or death. A body temperature of more than 105 degrees Fahrenheit is the primary symptom of heat stroke, but there are other common symptoms as well, including:
- Light-headedness and dizziness
- No sweating, even though it’s very hot
- Red, hot, dry skin,
- Muscle cramps or weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat, either strong or weak
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
If you think someone you’re with is suffering heat stroke, do not delay in calling 911 or taking the person to a hospital. If you have to wait for paramedics to arrive, move the person to an air-conditioned or cool area, and remove excess clothing. Initiate first aid to cool the person’s body temperature to 101 or 102 degrees Fahrenheit, by fanning air over the person while wetting his or her skin with a sponge or hose, applying ice packs to the armpits, groin, neck, and back, or immersing the patient in a shower or tub of cool water, or an ice bath. Do not give the patient anything to drink.
The best way to treat heat stroke is to avoid it. You can lower your risk of heat stroke by staying indoors during periods of extreme heat. You can also take some common sense measures to protect yourself from overheating, like wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat, drinking extra fluids to prevent dehydration, and scheduling your outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your summer without fear of dangerous heat stroke.
At our clinic, we want to help patients enjoy their lives, happy and living in optimal health. To promote this state of wellness, we treat patients as whole people, working to address the root causes of their medical concerns. If you want more information on how to live your best life, call today for a free consultation.