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What Is Heat Stroke?

The summertime provides a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the beach, the park, or any number of other outdoor activities. Unfortunately, if you are not cautious, the warm temperatures can become dangerous to your health, potentially resulting in a number of complications. One of the most hazardous conditions to your health is heat stroke.

Heat stroke is the most severe of all heat-related illnesses. It is a form of hyperthermia, in which the body temperature is abnormally elevated. However, unlike heat cramps or heat exhaustion, heat stroke can often be fatal if not treated immediately. What makes this heat-related illness so life-threatening is that the body’s normal mechanisms for dealing with the heat, such as temperature control and sweating, are rendered useless.

What causes heat stroke?

In cases of extreme humidity or if an individual is performing vigorous physical activity outside, the body may be unable to dissipate the heat, causing its temperature to rise to dangerous levels.

Heat stroke can also be caused by dehydration. An individual who is dehydrated may be unable to sweat fast enough to dissipate the heat, resulting in an elevated body temperature.

What are the signs?

The most common symptom of heat stroke is fever, with a temperature that is elevated to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or above. However, other symptoms include:

  • Irrational behavior
  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Irrational behavior
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

What should you do?

If you are with someone you suspect is experiencing heat stroke, move the person out of the sun to a cool, shady or air-conditioned location. Call 911 immediately. Spray the person with water or cover with a damp sheet. Give the person water or a nonalcoholic beverage with no caffeine.

Take note that the elderly, infants, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke. If you work outside, do so with caution, stay hydrated, and try to avoid the hottest times of the day.

If you do require medical attention, please visit one of our South Florida locations, where we have implemented practices specifically to ensure that our patients receive fast and efficient care.

For any questions, please call Consult-A-Nurse at 1-866-442-2362, which is available 24 hours a day.

Medline Plus

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Warm Weather Sports Injuries: Prevention and Treatment

About HCA East Florida

Building a Healthy Community -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In communities across South Florida and the Treasure Coast, more than 12,000 of your neighbors, friends and colleagues are committed to building a Healthy Community – a community with dedicated neighborhood groups, active little leagues, charities helping those in need, firstclass institutions that contribute to the overall well-being of the community, and businesses committed to making the communities they serve a better place. A National Presence -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HCA’s roots date back to the 1960s when Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr. led a group of physicians to build a hospital in Nashville,Tennessee. Close to four decades of hard work and dedication have made HCA – Hospital Corporation of America – the nation’s leading provider of quality healthcare services, with locally managed facilities that include approximately 191 hospitals and 82 outpatient surgery centers in 23 states, England and Switzerland. In Florida, there are 40 hospitals and 28 surgery centers, three division offices, and multiple other service facilities affiliated with HCA that employ close to 40,000 individuals. HCA affiliated facilities in East Florida are a part of a quality healthcare network in East Florida and the Treasure Coast with 12 affiliated hospitals, 12 surgery centers, one integrated regional lab and one consolidated service center. Together, the network employs more than 12,500 individuals and has close to 6,000 physicians on staff. A Commitment to Excellence -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hospitals have become the front line of healthcare in our country, creating demands never seen before. Technology, a growing and ever-changing part of healthcare, has pushed the boundaries of how care is provided and the expectations of those receiving care. Providing high quality and cost effective healthcare requires a constant upgrade of our facilities and the technology within the facilities. Whether it is an expanded Emergency Room or the latest imaging technology, our commitment to excellence is unwavering. Excellence is achieved when excellence is expected. HCA affiliated East Florida hospitals expect and are committed to excellence. A Clear Vision -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HCA’s corporate mission and values statement says it best: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. In recognition of this commitment, we strive to deliver high quality, cost effective healthcare in the communities we serve. HCA East Florida and its 12 affiliate hospitals are proud to be living up to that commitment. Recognized Leaders -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The benchmark for quality and leadership is found in the men and women who make up HCA East Florida network of hospitals. It is the caring touch of a physician, the friendly smile of a volunteer, the compassion of a nurse, the professionalism of a technician or the willingness to help of an office clerk. It is the excellence of the individual that has made HCA affiliated hospitals in East Florida recognized leaders in the communities they serve. HCA’s affiliate hospitals consistently appear among the Top 100 Hospitals and receive outstanding ratings from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. They receive 5 star ratings from Healthgrades, Inc. and recognition from the Leapfrog Group for Patient Safety. More importantly, our patient and physician satisfaction surveys consistently prove that the HCA affiliated East Florida hospitals are recognized leaders in the delivery of quality healthcare. The 12 HCA East Florida affiliate hospitals provided in excess of $ 800 million in care to the neediest without any compensation. In addition, we have implemented a comprehensive charitable care policy that provides financial relief to more of our charity patients and needs-based discounts to uninsured patients. One of the biggest challenges faced by the healthcare industry is the shortage of qualified healthcare professionals, especially Registered Nurses. Recognizing the challenge, we established scholarship programs at Palm Beach Community College, Broward Community College, Miami Dade College and Florida International University. The active involvement of HCA affiliated hospitals in the community will continue through our support of major initiatives as well as our active leadership and participation in a variety of organizations that promote the social and economic wellbeing of our community and embrace our cultural diversity. If an initiative or organization is looking to build a Healthy Community, you’re likely to find someone from an HCA affiliated East Florida hospital actively involved. “Healthy Community - A Community Initiative of the East Florida hospitals affiliated with HCA.” The terms “HCA” or the “Company” as used herein refer to HCA Inc. and its affiliates, unless otherwise stated or indicated by context. The terms “facilities,” “hospitals,” “medical centers,” “surgery centers” and “affiliates” refer to entities owned or operated by subsidiaries or affiliates of HCA Inc. References herein to “HCA employees” or to “our employees” refer to employees of affiliates or subsidiaries of HCA Inc.
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