Heading Off Heat Stroke
When the weather heats up, things can get really fun outside, but it’s important to be aware there’s a very real risk, too. Heat stroke claims lives every year, and it’s preventable. When physical activity in hot weather and prolonged exposure to high temperatures cause the body temperature to reach 104°F, heat stroke occurs. Medications, health issues and age can all increase risk – the very young and old are especially vulnerable.
Cramps may be the first sign, but many symptoms can warn of heat stroke. Here’s what to watch for:
- High body temperature
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- No sweating
- Vomiting and nausea
- Flushing (red skin)
- Racing heart rate
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Passing out (or even coma)
Lack of treatment can mean serious complications or even death. You can prevent heat stroke with a few precautions, especially in the hottest part of the day:
- Wear lightweight, loose and light-colored clothes.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Know whether your medicine makes you more prone.
- Avoid strenuous activity outside.
- Take it easy if you have a health issue that puts you at risk.
- Don’t leave children (or anyone) in parked cars.