Summertime Safety: Heat Stroke Awareness and Prevention
Last July and August tied as the hottest months ever on record, according to data gathered by NASA. Combine record-breaking temperatures with backyard grilling, outdoor sports, or time in the beach, and you may be setting yourself up for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Thomas J. Henry would like to remind everyone to be vigilant when it comes to signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Please take a moment to review the following safety information so you can prevent, identify, and react to symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Early Signs of Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
While heat stroke and heat exhaustion are different medical conditions, they do share many symptoms. These include:
- Muscle cramps
A major difference between the two is that by the time heat stroke occurs, the body’s cooling system has stopped working. Because of this, an individual experiencing heatstroke may not be sweating, despite high temperatures.
What to Do if You Feel Like Your Body is Beginning to Overheat
If you develop any of the symptoms above, it is advised that you take action to try and lower you body heat. Take these steps immediately:
- Move out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place.
- Lay down and elevate your legs and feet slightly.
- Remove any excessive tight fitting or heavy clothing or equipment.
- Drink cool water or other nonalcoholic caffeine-free beverages.
- Immerse yourself in water. If there is limited water, dip a piece of clothing in it and sponge yourself with the cool water.
- If conditions worsen, seek medical attention immediately.
Other Tips for Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
While the above steps can help treat rising body temperatures, the best method for preventing heat stroke and heat exhaustion is to limit exposure to excessive heat. You can do this by:
- Scheduling outdoor activities for the morning (before noon) or in the evening (after 5 p.m.).
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Drink a lot of water. You may not be thirst, but the water also helps your body regulate heat.
- Watch your children as they may forget to drink water or take breaks during activities.