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Answering Common Questions About Heat Stroke

August 7, 2017
medical care

During the hot summer months, almost everyone spends more time outdoors. And while there’s nothing quite like the sensation of beachside sunbathing or taking a jog in the summer heat, it’s critical to know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke so you can get to a safe place and receive immediate care. To stay as educated as possible, here are some answers to common questions regarding heat stroke.

  1. What are the most prevalent symptoms of heat stroke?
    The main component of developing heat stroke is having a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher. Aside from that, you may start to feel nauseous, confused, or irritable. Your breaths may start to become shorter and faster, as if you’re gasping for air. On top of that, you may experience bouts of headaches and muscle cramps. Finally, a major sign of heat stroke is hot, red, and flushed skin, and your body may even stop sweating entirely. If you’re noticing any of these symptoms in yourself or a friend, take them to receive medical care at a walk in clinic or hospital as soon as possible.
  2. How can I reduce my chance of developing heat stroke or prevent it entirely?
    There are many ways to reduce the chance of heat stroke. Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather, and apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Try to find ways to stay shaded and cool as often as you can. But most importantly, stay as hydrated as possible by drinking water instead of sodas or other sugary or caffeinated beverages. Alcohol, which can alter internal temperatures, should also be avoided.
  3. What should I do if I feel symptoms of heat stroke coming on?
    If you or someone you’re with starts to develop symptoms of heat stroke, seek medical care immediately. In the meantime, get to a shaded area and remove any nonessential clothing. Then, splash water on the sufferer and try to cool them off as much as possible. Ice packs are a great resource, but they shouldn’t be used on children or older adults as they can cause ice burns.

Ultimately, staying vigilant and keeping cool is the best way to protect yourself from heat stroke. But wherever you go, it’s important to have an emergency medical plan, considering that only 29% of primary care doctors have after-hours coverage. For more information about heat stroke prevention, contact AFC/Doctors Express.