Heat Stroke Primer
StatMed Clearwater (727) 726-1962 is open Mon-Fri, 10AM to 8PM and Sat and Sun, 10AM to 4PM.
StatMed Ocala (352) 877-3360 is open Mon-Fri, 9AM to 4PM.
Intense heat raises the risk of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, which can be serious and even fatal. Older people are at higher risk and so are people with preexisting conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. But everyone is susceptible, and the symptoms can be sneaky. Here’s what to do, and what to avoid, to keep yourself safe as temps rise.
Dehydration is the number one cause of heat stroke. Experts say you should aim to drink five to six cups of water daily. When you are physically active or the temperature is high, you might need more. Don’t substitute caffeinated drinks or soda
When temperatures soar you might need to dial back your outdoor physical activity. Overexertion is one of the most common causes of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Be aware of the heat index when you head outdoors.
Alcohol is a diuretic and makes your body shed water and can lead to dehydration. During warmer weather, follow an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.
Wearing heavy clothing or too many layers can trap heat and prevent sweat from cooling your skin, leading to overheating. Wear light, natural fabrics like cotton and linen in light colors, and avoid synthetics like polyester that are less breathable and dark colors, which retain heat.
Some medications, including antihistamines, diuretics, laxatives and medicines for conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease, can cause dehydration, increasing your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Take extra care to stay hydrated.
Carrying around extra pounds is a strain on all body systems, including the heart and circulation. It also makes your body generate more heat and retain it, making it harder for your body to cool off.
Heat stroke might cause a high body temperature, a change in sweating (you might stop sweating or break out into a “cold sweat”), dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, flushed skin, a high heart rate, rapid breathing or headache. If you experience any of those symptoms, move inside immediately and hydrate. Attempt to cool down in a cool shower or bath or with cool compresses, and call 911.
This article is for general information purposes only and is not medical advice. Consult your physician if you experience any symptoms related to this article.
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