Enjoy the Summer Weather but Beware of Heatstroke

Enjoying summer activities can be lots of fun. While taking advantage of the warmer weather, take precautions to avoid heatstroke. This is a very serious illness that can cause major complications if not treated immediately.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, heat stroke occurs when the body cannot regulate heat which leads to a loss of temperature control. Some of the symptoms of heatstroke include elevated body temperature above 104° Fahrenheit along with fainting, nausea, seizures, dizziness and light-headedness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, or coma. Older people who live in homes that lack air conditioning or good airflow, are most likely to experience heat stroke. It can also affect infants and young athletes. People of any age who do not drink enough water, have chronic disease, or drink alcohol are also at high-risks.

If you suspect that a person may be experiencing heatstroke, call 911 immediately or take them to the nearest hospital. These actions must be taken as soon as possible, to avoid major complications or fatality. Begin first aid immediately while waiting for the paramedics. Attempt to cool down the person. Move the individual to an area with shade or indoors to an air-conditioned room. Remove unnecessary clothing. Put the person in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray the person with cool water while fanning the individual, or place cold wet towels on the person’s body. The goal is to get the person’s temperature down to at least 102 or 101° Fahrenheit.

To prevent heatstroke try the following strategies. Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. Use sunscreen. Drink extra water to avoid dehydration. If possible, only go outdoors during the coolest hours of the day (morning or late evening). Avoid or limit fluids containing alcohol.

When recovering from heatstroke, check with your doctor to know when it is safe to go back to your normal activities.

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