HOW TO RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE

The body normally regulates its own temperature by sweating as temperatures rise. However, in cases of extreme heat, the body’s regulation mechanism can sometimes be overwhelmed, leading first to heat exhaustion and then to heat stroke if nothing is done. The danger of heat stroke is particularly risky on days that are extremely hot and humid, as excessive humidity does not allow the body to cool itself properly through sweating.

Those at greater risk of heat stroke are babies, the elderly, those with heart, kidney or lung disease, and people taking some forms of medication. When it is very hot and humid, body temperature in those affected can rise very quickly to 106 degrees or more in only about 10 to 15 minutes. Following are some of the signs of heat stroke:

Body temp of 103 degrees or above; hot, red, dry skin with no sweating; strong, rapid pulse and deep breathing; weak pulse and shallow breathing; nausea and vomiting; throbbing headache; confusion; dizziness; hallucinations; convulsions; unconscious.

Heat stroke can cause organ failure, brain damage, and eventually death if not treated PROMPTLY. If you believe someone may have heat stroke, move them to a cool or shady location and call 911 IMMEDIATELY. While waiting for help you can do some things..

Cool them down ASAP; remove excess clothing and use whatever is available to reduce temperature; ideally, a cool bath but if not able, a cold shower or ice packs on the head, neck, groin, and armpits will help. If outdoors, cool water from a hose.

Do not become a heat stroke victim. Keep well hydrated on hot days, wear light clothing, avoid all alcohol, and stay in air-conditioned environments. If no A/C, go to the mall, a library, or take in a movie. Using these guidelines will help you get through this non-stop heat wave safely.