Watch Out for Heat Stroke & Exhaustion This Summer
This summer, many of us are hoping to get outside for some fun in the sun. Considering the historic heat waves occurring in many parts of the nation, it’s safe to assume this summer will be sizzling. Not only can heat stroke and heat exhaustion symptoms ruin an otherwise great day, but they can also be life threatening. Here in sunny Florida, we all need to take extra care of ourselves and our loved ones this summer season.
Who Is at Risk?
CDC data shows that from 1999 to 2010, excessive heat exposure caused or contributed to 8,081 deaths in the United States. Additionally, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians, each year about 400 deaths and thousands of emergency department visits are caused by heat illnesses.
No one is immune to overheating, but the following groups have an increased risk:
- Infants and children 4 and under
- Adults 65 and older
- People who are overweight
- Those with existing medical conditions
- Low-income individuals without access to cooler indoor spaces or medical assistance
- Isolated individuals
- People who take certain medications
If you fit within any of these groups, you will want to take extra precautions.
What are the Symptoms?
You might be wondering about the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion. The latter is the first sign that your body is becoming overheated. If you ignore heat exhaustion symptoms, a heat stroke may occur.
A heat stroke is life threatening. It happens when a person’s core body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If left untreated, heat stroke can cause permanent organ damage and death.
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
- Dizziness or fainting
- Vomiting or feeling nauseated
- Muscle cramps
- Fast or weak pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Cool, sweaty skin
Heat Stroke Symptoms
- Continued dizziness or nausea
- Severe headache
- Fast and strong pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Body temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Hot, dry, or red skin
The skin remains cool and wet during the exhaustion stage because the body is still trying to sweat. When the body becomes too hot or dehydrated to continue cooling itself via sweat, the victim’s life is in immediate danger.
What is the Treatment?
How you respond to a situation involving heat-related illness could save a life.
Heat Exhaustion Treatment
If you are out in the heat and begin to feel any of the symptoms listed above, immediately stop doing any physical activity, get to a cooler location and find a place to sit down, and quickly begin hydrating with water, sports drinks, or other non-alcoholic beverages. to provide hydration and lower your body temperature. Keep track of your pulse and pace of breathing and arrange to have someone get you to your nearest MD Now Urgent Care clinic. Any delays can put you at risk of heat stroke.
Heat Stroke Treatment
If heat exhaustion has advanced to a heat stroke, call 911 immediately! Heat Stroke is serious, and it is best to seek professional medical assistance.
If you happen to be in the presence of someone having a Heat Stroke, you’ll want to contact emergency services and move the victim to a cooler location immediately. Cold compresses on the face and body can help lower the core temperature. Avoid giving the victim fluids because forcing fluid at this stage can be dangerous. It’s better to wait for the medical professionals to provide fluids intravenously.
MD Now Is Here to Help You Stay Safe
Even if you’re careful, heat exhaustion could occur. If that happens, there’s no need to worry. The physician-led team of healthcare professionals at MD Now is here to help. Our state-of-the-art clinics offer treatment for heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses including the utilization of the latest IV fluids for severe cases.
We make it easy for you to get back to enjoying your summer with more than 85 locations across Florida. Just walk into your nearest MD Now for high-quality healthcare – no appointment necessary, we can see you right NOW!