20 Dec 2011

Preventing Heat Stroke

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Heat stroke is definitely no fun in the sun. In fact, the condition, which happens when the body overheats and can’t cool down, can be fatal.

Needless to say, the risk of heat stroke goes way up in hot and humid weather, if you’ve been exerting yourself, if you’re dehydrated or if you’ve had too much direct exposure to the sun, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The elderly, infants, people who work outdoors and people on certain types of medication are at an especially heightened risk.

You can help prevent getting heat stroke by limiting the amount of time you spend outdoors, drinking plenty of water (and avoiding tea, coffee, soda and alcohol), wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved clothing when outdoors, and scheduling heavy-duty activities for the beginning or end of the day, when it’s cooler.

Be wary if you have any of these symptoms: muscle cramps, faintness, dizziness, weakness, headache, vomiting, high temperature and rapid heartbeat.

And if you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, call emergency medical personnel immediately, then take the following steps:

  • Move the person to a shady spot or indoors and have them lie down with their legs elevated. If they’re conscious, have them sip cool water.
  • Remove clothing, apply cool water to the skin and fan them.
  • Apply ice packs to the armpits, wrists, ankles and groin.

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