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What to know about heat stroke

What to know about heat stroke What to know about heat stroke

Fun in the sun is a big part of the appeal of summer. Outdoor recreation and relaxation kicks up a notch each summer, contributing to a vibe that is as welcoming as it is warm.

Summer is indeed all about recreation, but individuals also must remain safe when spending time outdoors. Heatstroke is a potentially deadly condition that can be prevented with some basic knowledge of what it is and how it manifests.

What is heatstroke?

The Mayo Clinic notes that heatstroke is caused by the body overheating. When individuals suffer heatstroke, it is usually because they have been exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time or have been physically exerting themselves in such conditions.

How serious is heatstroke?

The medical examiner's office in Maricopa County, Arizona noted that heat deaths surged by 50 percent in the city of Phoenix in 2023. Rising temperatures related to climate change have made it less safe to be outdoors on certain days. The risk for heat-related death is serious in places like Phoenix when the mercury rises, but anyone anywhere can succumb to the heat if they are not careful. By no means are deaths due to heatstroke or other heatrelated illnesses exclusive to individuals in traditionally warm locales like Phoenix. Despite that vulnerability, various organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, note that heat-related illnesses are preventable. Prevention involves recognition of symptoms prior to going outdoors and a willingness to go inside should any symptoms begin to arise. Symptoms of heatstroke

Heatstroke can manifest in various ways, producing symptoms that may include:

• Elevated body tem perature: The Mayo Clinic notes that a core body temperature of 104 F or higher is a main sign of heatstroke.

• Altered mental state: Someone suffering from heatstroke may begin to feel confused, agitated, irritable, and/or delirious. In addition, such individuals may begin to behave erratically, which can involve slurred speech.

• Changes in sweating patterns: People may begin to sweat differently depending on why they are suffering from heatstroke. When heatstroke is brought on by hot weather, a person's skin will feel hot and dry to the touch, notably leading to a lack of sweat. When heatstroke occurs because of strenuous exercise in hot weather, the skin may feel dry and slightly moist.

• Nausea and vomiting: Heatstroke can make people feel sick to their stomach and even induce vomiting.

• Flushed skin: is recognizable symptom is marked by skin turning red as body temperature spikes.

• Changes in breathing: Heatstroke can cause rapid, shallow breathing.

• Elevated heart rate: The Harvard Medical School notes that the heart experiences stress when the human body sheds heat. That stress can cause the heart to beat faster and pump harder.

• Headache: Some peo ple with heatstroke experience a throbbing headache. Preventing heatstroke

The CDC notes that drinking plenty of water, cooling off in air conditioned rooms, limiting time outdoors on particularly hot days, taking frequent breaks if you must be outside, and wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher are some ways to beat the heat and avoid heatstroke.

Heatstroke is a notable, yet preventable threat. Making an effort to avoid heatstroke while spending time outdoors this summer can ensure the season is safe and fun.

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