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The Dangers of Heatstroke

Posted on June 14, 2017 at 4:50 PM

If you’ve ever suffered from heatstroke, or know someone who has, then you understand the very real danger that’s associated with the condition. Those lucky souls who have been untouched by it are more likely to be lacking this awareness.

Because many people don’t realize how dangerous heatstroke truly is, today’s post will shed some light on the dark side of the hot weather everyone seems to love.


What is Heatstroke?

Very basically, heatstroke is a form of injury due to heat. It occurs when one’s “body temperature rises to 40°C or higher” (Mayo Clinic 2014). Often, the body has overheated due to over exerting yourself on a hot summer day. For some, all it takes is being outside for prolonged periods in hot temperatures, and the symptoms of heat stroke begin to appear (Mayo Clinic 2014).


What are the Symptoms of Heatstroke?

Anyone, regardless of gender or age, can suffer from heatstroke. People afflicted will display some or all of the following symptoms (Mayo Clinic 2014):


  • High body temperature – as mentioned above, your body temperature will be at or above 40°C 
  • Altered mental state/behaviour – you may be confused, agitated, irritable, delirious, exhibiting slurred or delayed speech, stuttering, or showing signs of memory loss. Seizures and coma can also occur.
  • Altered sweating – depending on what causes the heatstroke, your skin can be hot and dry or it may be hot and moist. (The former is the case if heatstroke results from hot temperatures, the latter is if it results from overexertion.)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin – reddening skin is a result of your high body temperature
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fast heart rate – the heart is beating hard trying to cool down your body, putting it under a lot of strain.
  • Headache” 


 Heatstroke needs to be treated immediately. If you think you have heatstroke, get yourself indoors or in the shade immediately! If you are too incapacitated to do so, try to tell someone else what’s happening, and they will get you there. You need to cool your body down as soon as possible. Do whatever is necessary, from removing clothes to submerging yourself in cold water or laying cool cloths over your body. Even after these precautions are taken, the effects of heatstroke can last for days and even months! If left untreated, heatstroke can lead to serious organ damage or death (Mayo Clinic 2014).


How Should You Stay Safe?

You have to be extremely careful in the hot weather and bright sun to avoid heatstroke. Even if you think you’re being careful, understand that heatstroke can still sneak up on you.

It’s best practice to avoid strenuous exercise outdoors in hot, humid weather. Instead of running, trying going for a gentle walk or sitting outdoors in the shade. If you’re someone who is more easily prone to heatstroke, I would recommend avoiding any prolonged activity in hot temperatures, even if you’re just standing and have access to shade.

Now that you understand the symptoms of heatstroke, be sure to check both yourself and others regularly when you’re spending time under the sun. For more summer safety tips, contact Harmony in Health today!


References:

Mayo Clinic (2014): http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/basics/definition/con-20032814

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