Recognizing the Signs of Heatstroke

By Isabella Sorresso

Hanging around in the sun is all fun and games until someone gets hurt — or heatstroke. There are several different heat-related illnesses you can acquire from too much sun exposure, like heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash, but the worst is heatstroke.

How is Heat Stoke Caused?

According to the Mayo Clinic, heatstroke is usually caused when an individual is exposed to “hot, humid weather, especially for prolonged periods.” However, you can also get “exertional heatstroke” from intense physical activity in hot weather.

If you or someone else feels sick or light-headed on a hot day, pay attention for the following symptoms: altered mental state or behavior; feeling nauseous; vomiting; having flushed skin; rapid, shallow breathing; a racing heart rate; and headache.

What Happens to Your Body When you get Heat Stroke?

When you get heatstroke, your body temperature can go from the standard 98.6 F up to a dangerous 104 F. When your core body temperature gets this high, it can be potentially fatally. Seek immediate medical attention if you think someone is experiencing heatstroke.

How to Treat Heat Stroke?

The Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both advise that the first step that should be taken to help someone with heatstroke is to bring the person indoors or to a cooler location. Then remove any excess clothing that might be making them hotter, and try to cool them down by using ice packs, putting them in a tub of cool water or cool shower, or by placing a wet washcloth with cold water on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.

All heat-related illnesses are preventable and can be avoided on a daily basis by wearing lightweight, loose clothing, wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated.


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