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Prevent Summer Heat Strokes

Summer is in full swing and the heat will be sticking around for a while. We normally spend lots of time outdoors in the heat during the summer. As it gets hotter and temperature rise so does the risk for heat related illness. The two top heat related illness are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Both illness can be extremely harmful, and life threatening causing brain damage and even death.

According to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hundreds of people are hospitalized or die every year due to the heat. The more time you spend outside in the heat the higher your chances are of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion occurs when you are exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time without hydration or water. If you don’t drink enough fluid your body will become dehydrated. Our bodies are typically good at staying around the normal body temperature of 98.6 °F. When you are dehydrated or in very hot and humid weather, your body may not be able to cool itself off as quickly. When heat collects in your body it causes heat exhaustion and could lead to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is among the leading causes of death in young adults and teens. This is mostly due to heat strokes occurring during practices and sporting events outdoors. The best treatment for heat exhaustion is to rehydrate and move into a cooler environment to lower your body temperature. Heat exhaustion is highest for athletes who play high school football. Therefore, it is important for athletes to begin drinking water several hours before outdoor practices or events. Athletes must also continue to rehydrate due to excessive sweating and heat exposure. Although heat exhaustion isn’t as serious as heat stroke, it isn’t something to be taken lightly. If not treated, it can progress to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is considered the most severe form of heat illness. Anyone can have a heat stroke however, babies, senior adults, athletes, outdoor workers and people with heart and lung disease are at greater risk. Heatstroke occurs when the body temperature is greater than 105.1°F . To much heat exposure causes your body to experience hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is when the body cannot regulate its temperature in extremely hot environments. If you are having a heat stroke you may experience some of these early warning signs: muscle cramps, weakness, lethargy, nausea, or dizziness. Others may notice flushing, rapid breathing, confusion, agitation or trouble walking. If untreated, heat stroke can lead to passing out, seizures and coma. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that needs to be treated immediately. It is considered a medical emergency, 911 should be called, any delay in treatment could result in death.