Some call it heat stroke, while others call it heat stroke, but no matter how you break it down, it is a condition that no one wants to experience. If your body temperature exceeds 104 degrees and you start to feel lethargic and confused, it is time to visit a doctor.
Although it may not be fatal in normal situations, heat stroke is something that affects thousands of Americans each year and is believed to be responsible for claims of up to 600 deaths a year in the United States alone.
Heat stroke is considered a severe heat illness that results in high temperatures and disorientation of the body. Many people who spend a lot of time in the summer sun also experience red or dry skin, headaches and, in some cases, dizziness. The recommended course of action is a cold shower and plenty of water, but sometimes more treatment is needed due to heat stroke.
Not just the sun
Although the main cause of heat stroke is excessive sun exposure, it is not the only cause. Excessive physical exertion, especially heat and humidity, can also lead to the same result. The most common risk factors for heat stroke are fever and high humidity, but certain medications such as diuretics, beta blockers or alcohol can also be a problem. Although it differs in many ways from fever, heat stroke is a type of hyperthermia.
We don’t mean the obvious, but staying in the sun is the best way to avoid heat stroke. Drinking plenty of water is also a good idea, but if you are unable to prevent heat stroke, you may need medical attention right away. Fortunately, doctors and nurses have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to heat stroke treatment.
It is logical that the best treatment for heat stroke is to cool down as quickly as possible. Although many choose to go to the emergency room, others can treat the symptoms at home with a few simple methods. Spraying a person with water is an option, while an ice bath is also recommended. If the condition is too severe for this, the next step is a cold IV drip.
You can often notice that a person will soon experience a heat stroke by looking for early warning signs, especially on a hot day. If it’s hot outside but your friend isn’t sweating, that’s a sign. If they behave strangely or feel dizzy, it’s time to get them out of the sun and into the shade, with plenty of cold water.
Period of time
The duration of heat stroke depends a lot on whether a person suffers from it in time. If the body temperature of a sunstroke victim can fall below 104 degrees in 30 minutes, that person usually recovers quickly and begins to feel better in a short time. However, if the body temperature does not fall fast enough, a person can suffer from long-term cognitive problems.
Although still considered relatively rare, heat stroke kills hundreds of people each year. In 2015, for example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 335 Americans died of heat stroke. “Heat-related illnesses are very common during the summer months and can lead to serious complications and even death,” said Dr. Reginald Mason, the overall health leader of Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta. “Although certain people are at increased risk of heat-related illnesses, anyone of any age, especially if they exercise in a hot climate, can suffer from it. It is important to understand that even well-conditioned athletes can suffer serious consequences from overtraining. in the heat “.
Although death from heat stroke is rare, heat stroke during exertion can occur at any time. Korea Stringer, a 2001 Minnesota Vikings striker, collapsed after training on an unusually hot day. Stringer died at the age of 27 after a heat stroke, despite being taken to hospital. His body temperature exceeded 108.8 degrees. However, this is an extreme case, because older and younger people are most sensitive to heat stroke caused by the heat of the sun.
Obese or mostly sick people are also more likely to be affected by heat stroke. People who regularly take blood pressure medications, such as beta blockers, are also affected. Another important factor is that people have to sweat in hot climates, and if they don’t, that is a big problem. When the body gets too hot, the heart has to pump harder to cool down. If something interrupts this process, heat stroke can occur.
Hot flashes are very dangerous for vulnerable people or those who work outdoors during the summer. In 1995, a massive heat wave in Chicago killed more than 700 lives, and 39% of the victims had previous heart problems, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
It’s time to get some expert advice on the best ways to avoid heat stroke this summer. “Instead of mowing the lawn in the middle of the day, when it’s 100 degrees, I suggest you do it at 8 o’clock in the evening or at night,” said Dr. Mark J. Conroy, a stroke specialist due to years of bitter experience. , to advise. “Sports teams follow this advice; many exercise at the beginning of the day, not in the middle of the day, when temperatures are higher. ”
Relationship between work and rest
Dr. Conroy advises those who have no choice but to work, changing working relationships on vacation, depending on the conditions. “If it’s hot outside, you would rest more than physical activity.” But he also advises trying to gradually get used to the heat over a few days, if possible.
Dr. Dustin J. Calhoun, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, says that “hydration is the most important aspect of preventing heat stroke, because sweating is the most important mechanism that our body must get rid of heat.” As such, a quick snack is recommended, because it is necessary to consume electrolytes such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Meanwhile, Dr. Raimond L. Fowler, a professor and head of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, reports that outdoor workers wear buggies, bright clothes. “It’s better to wear clothes that are loose enough for the wind to pass,” he said. “The same goes for light-colored clothing, which absorbs less heat than dark-colored clothing. Wear a hat with an edge that protects the sun from your face.”
One of the most important steps a person can take to prevent an episode of heat stroke is to take regular breaks during the work day. If you work near an air-conditioned building, according to Conroy, it’s a good idea to take a break to cool off. If this is not an option, any shaded area should be sufficient.
An example of Dr. Conroy’s commitment to helping people with heat stroke is when he attends a medical tent at the Pittsburgh Dicking Sports Equipment Marathon every year. Conroy and his colleagues are treating several runners who inevitably experience heat stroke during a marathon due to overheating. While most runners are in shape, young athletes, some of them work too hard.
Not just athletes
As an emergency doctor at Weckner Medical Center at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Conroy recently cared for a 70-year-old woman who suffered an extreme heat stroke. She succumbed to heat stroke just by sitting in the sun for 90 minutes. The fact that she was obese also contributed to the factor. These two examples illustrate the contrast between heat stroke for the young and the elderly in relation to the elderly and obese.
Are you ready
According to Conroy, when it comes to healthy marathon runners, their heat stroke symptoms developed over several hours and were the result of physical activity and excessive exertion. “If you don’t exercise at the wrong time of day or have some of the risk factors, you can develop heat stroke in 20 to 30 minutes,” he said.
Conroy also noticed that people like a 70-year-old woman who suffered a heat stroke during an hour of sitting in the sun, it is better to stay indoors. “You don’t have to exercise for two hours; it can happen very quickly if you are vulnerable to heat stroke and if you are not outside in 100 degree weather conditions,” he said. He later added that obesity and high blood pressure were also the main culprits in this case.
When everything is said and done, there is nothing more useful than common sense when it comes to sun protection and avoiding heat stroke. For people living in hot climates this can be even more difficult, especially if the climate is very humid. It is recommended to make a mistake with caution when staying in the safe sun and enjoying your summer vacation.