With July approaching and temperatures right now hovering around the 90 Fahrenheit mark in the New York City metropolitan area, one needs to be ready should heatstroke occur. Heatstroke is the most serious heat-related illness after heat cramps and exhaustion, and usually occurs from too little fluid intake in high climes coupled with exercise or laboring outdoors. Young children, older individuals and the elderly, and those born with a condition which doesn’t impairs the ability to sweat or perspire are most at risk for heatstroke. Individuals with cardiovascular disease, people who use alcohol in extreme heat and those who take certain medications. Please make sure to familiarize yourself with the following steps from the Mayo Clinic so you don’t suffer the effects of this potentially deadly illness.
During a heatstroke episode, the body’s normal ability to sweat and control temperature do not work as usual. The main indicators of illness is a temperature of above 104 F with personality changes to confusion or coma. Skin may be hot and dry, but if the heatstroke is due to physical exertion, the skin will likely be hot and moist. Other symptoms include fainting (which is usually the first sign in older individuals suffering heatstroke), nausea, headache, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, rapid heartbeat, rapid and shallow breathing patterns, high or low blood pressure, the stopping of sweating and irritability, unconsciousness or confusion.
If you suspect heatstroke in an individual, help move the person away from the sun and into a cool or airconditioned space. Call 911 or EMS as soon as possible. Place dampened sheets or spray water directly on the individual. Direct air right at the person with a newspaper or fan. Also, make sure the person drinks liquids if possible, but not caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
One can help another avoid the possibility of hospitalization or even death by knowing how to quickly react when seeing someone suffering from the effects of heatstroke. Reread this article if necessary and share it with friends during this hot summer season.