Summer is here and the temperatures have already hit some high numbers. Summer comes with the idea of many fun activities like boating, grilling, swimming, camping, driving and other things that we look forward to during the many cold winter months. In our eagerness to follow through with the many plans that we have made and paid for, we sometimes sacrifice health and safety for fun. Whatever the reasons may be the end result could be one of the most serious injuries of summer: Heat Stroke.
Heat Stroke happens to many people who are over age 50, it can happen to younger people and even healthy young athletes if they don’t take proper care of themselves when outside in the heat. With or without symptoms, heat stroke can occur at any time when a person is exposed to prolonged high temperatures. Heat Stroke, as defined on WebMD, is the “core body temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures.” This condition is typically found in conjunction with dehydration.
Some known risk factors that increase the likelihood that you may suffer a Heat Stroke include
- Age – usually small children up to age 4 and adults over age 65
- Medications such as antihistamines, diet pills, diuretics, tranquilizers, seizure medications and heart and blood pressure medicine.
We hope you have a fun filled summer full of happy memories and cookouts and fun in the sun. If it happens that during your Great Aunt Alice’s annual 4th of July cookout while you are defending your Badminton title against your 1st cousins (who eerily resemble the Hanson brothers from the movie Miracle) you think your Uncle Charlie may be suffering from Heat Stroke, there are some key signs that you should look for. Some of the most well known symptoms of Heat Stroke include nausea, seizures, disorientation and loss of consciousness. If after assessing the situation you feel that dear Uncle Charlie is indeed suffering from a possible Heat Stroke, there are several things you should do immediately:
- Look for other possible symptoms which can include: throbbing headache, lightheadedness, lack of sweat, cramping muscles and or a rapid heartbeat.
- Call 911 –getting medical attention as soon as possible is very important.
- If possible, get Uncle Charlie into a shady area or an air conditioned place.
- Put a cool wet cloth on his head while fanning him in order to start bringing down Charlie’s core temperature.
- Apply icepacks or baggies of ice to the areas that are rich with blood vessels such as the armpits, groin, neck and back.
There are a few precautions that you can take to help yourself and your loved ones avoid Heat Stroke.
- Wear lightweight clothing
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be a catalyst to the onset of a Heat Stroke. Symptoms of dehydration include: dry eyes, inability to suddenly produce tears, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting , heart palpitations, Lightheadedness
- Stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day
For more information on Heat Stroke, you can visit any of the sites listed here.