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 bodyâ€™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
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.