The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heat Stroke--Don't Let it Happen to You!

A savvy-reader sent us a suggestion to post what to watch for to avoid heat stroke. We love our readers, so we were happy to oblige--here ya go:

Heat stroke facts

Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia in which the body temperature is elevated dramatically, it is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. Cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke. The most important measures to prevent heat strokes are to avoid becoming dehydrated and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.

Infants, the elderly, athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke.

Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, two other forms of hyperthermia that are less severe, heat stroke is a true medical emergency that is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated. Heat stroke is also sometimes referred to as heatstroke or sun stroke. Severe hyperthermia is defined as a body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher.

The body normally generates heat as a result of metabolism, and is usually able to dissipate the heat by radiation of heat through the skin or by evaporation of sweat. However, in extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous physical exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat and the body temperature rises, sometimes up to 106 F (41.1 C) or higher. Another cause of heat stroke is dehydration. A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which causes the body temperature to rise.

What are heat stroke symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of heat stroke can sometimes mimic those of heart attack or other conditions. Sometimes a person experiences symptoms of heat exhaustion before progressing to heat strokes.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness.
However, some individuals can develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly and rapidly without warning.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heatstroke. Common symptoms and signs of heat stroke include:

high body temperature, the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse,
difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and/or coma.

Be safe, be cool and NEVER leave anyone in a car on a hot day!!

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