Beating the Heat and Heatstrokes

With warmer weather during the summer, Heatstroke is something to always be aware of. Heatstroke occurs when your body temperature increases to a point that your body is unable to cool itself down. This is especially concerning in the elder population who are exposed to the heat and do not stay hydrated properly. Heatstroke is a medical emergency, but there are signs and symptoms of early stages of heatstroke called heat exhaustion that you should be on the lookout for.

In heat exhaustion, dehydration depletes the body of the fluid it needs to allow adequate blood supply. This may manifest in headaches, muscle cramps, and extreme weakness. With reduced blood flow to the brain, you may start to feel lightheaded or dizzy. Once your body temperature reaches 104F, signs of brain dysfunction will begin to manifest themselves such as confusion, trouble walking, hallucinating, passing out, and possibly seizures. Once this occurs, heatstroke is in full effect and is a medical emergency that requires a trip to the ER or ambulance.

If early signs and symptoms are present, the goal is to cool yourself down as fast as possible. Ideas include moving to an air-conditioned room, spray water on your face, place a cool washcloth on your neck and armpits, or get into a shower or ice bath. Drink water or sports drinks with no alcohol or caffeine in them. However, if heatstroke develops do not hesitate to also call 911!

Prevention, of course, is the key with heatstroke. Avoid being outside during the hottest hours, typically between noon and 6 pm. Be sure to carry some form of water or sports drink with you, making sure to take sips throughout the day so that you stay well hydrated. Never leave children or adults in a hot vehicle unattended. Most importantly, take some breaks from the heat! Summer is about relaxing as well!