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Identifying and Avoiding Heatstroke

Identifying and Avoiding Heatstroke
Kevin Cleary

With temperatures and humidity increasing during the dog days of summer, it's more important than ever to understand and identify signs of distress from excessive heat. The heat of summer can affect us in many negative ways, such as hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), heat exhaustion, or heat cramps. All of these are uncomfortable, but if continued exposure to high temperatures is paired with excessive exercise in hot weather, a much more devastating experience can develop. You may have heard of heatstroke, and it is vital to know that it is not as benign as the afflictions mentioned above if left untreated. 

Know the Symptoms of Heatstroke 

We've all over-exerted ourselves during hot days, but heatstroke is an entirely different animal. Believe it or not, it can be fatal!! Being out in high temperatures or overexertion during high temperatures can lead to our body temperatures soaring over 104°, which can bring about the onset of heatstroke. Heatstroke is a 911 moment. If left untreated, heatstroke can affect your internal organs, brain, and muscles. lists several symptoms of heatstroke that, include: 

  1. High Body Temperature: Heatstroke can raise your internal body temperature above 104°. 
  2. Altered Mental State or Behavior: Heatstroke can cause confusion, agitation, and slurred speech, not to mention seizures and coma. 
  3. Sweating: When heatstroke happens due to heat, your skin will feel hot and dry, but heatstroke brought on by exercise can result in moist skin. 
  4. Flushed Skin: As your body temperature rises, your skin may turn red. 
  5. Rapid Breathing/Elevated Heart Rate: Your breathing may become quick and shallow, while your heart rate may increase significantly since your heart is working hard to cool your body. 

Understanding your body's signals can lead to taking steps to help treat the danger of heatstroke. You can use an infrared thermometer with a digital readout by Mabis DMI to accurately understand the affected person's temperature. Actions to alleviate the harmful effects of heatstroke include: getting the affected person into the shade, removing any excess clothing, and using any means necessary to cool off the individual (cool water, misting fans, or even ice/ice packs if available). 

Take Action  

You first need to get the sunstroke victim out of the sun. If the sufferer is in a wheelchair, you can use the Wheelchair Umbrella made by Sammons Preston to protect from rain and harsh rays of the sun. Older people are some of the most vulnerable to the dangerous heat of summer. Instead of using an everyday cane, they should utilize the sun protection Umbrella Cane. It is entirely functional as a cane and, in a pinch, can provide shade and respite from direct sunshine and heat. Sunshade for electric scooters makes shade mobile for the user. Shade is our first weapon in the fight against heatstroke. 

Cool It Down 

Once removed from direct sunlight, the next step in treating heatstroke is to cool down the affected individual. The best way to achieve this is with the use of water as well as ice or ice packs. Cold sprays can cool down affected skin and provide relief from hot conditions. They have a topical coolant that evaporates on contact with the skin, lowering the surface temperature and giving comfort from the heat. It's a great addition to any first-aid kit!! Another way to cool skin temperature is with an ice pack. The reusable cold compress by 3M effectively provides cold therapy. It is a ready-to-use first aid tool. It can be applied directly to the skin without any cover and does not require refrigeration. Having ice packs available can be a lifesaver, and the Instant Cold Pack can provide immediate relief. It requires just a quick squeeze to activate the cooling effect. One way to get a broad application of cooling ice is with multi-purpose ice bags. They make it easy to apply the cooling effects of ice over many parts of your body, including the head and neck. Finally, evaporation is a great way to cool our bodies. By misting water on your body and using a floor fan, you can use evaporation to cool down someone affected by heatstroke. Again, be proactive and immediately identify and treat any sign of heatstroke. 



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text, was created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Furthermore, content shared on our websites is not meant to substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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