Before summer presents itself, the temperatures begin rising and the summer activities begin taking place, it is important to know that people are at risk for developing heat stress. This can happen to anyone, including children, older adults, those working outside and those with medical conditions.
What is heat stress? It is important to know the difference between heat strokes and heat exhaustion. The two are both serious issues, yet one may require more serious medical attention. Heat stroke may occur when the body is unable to cool itself and maintain a normal level of temperature.
Heat exhaustion may present itself with light-headedness, nausea, fatigue, muscle cramping and dizziness. Being able to recognize these signs is imperative to treating them. If one presents with these symptoms try to take these steps in lowering body temperature and cooling the body.
- Remove tight or extra clothing layers
- Move to an open or air-conditioned place
- Take a cold shower or use a cold compress
- Drink fluids and electrolytes
Heat stroke is a condition that requires medical attention immediately. The common symptoms of heat stroke may include headache, rapid heart rate, confusion, nausea or vomiting, no sweating, and possibly losing consciousness. As soon as these symptoms occur it is crucial that these steps are taken.
- Call 911 right away
- Move the individual to a cooler area
- Use cold compresses to help cool their body temperature
- Do not give or intake fluids
As a parent there are different precautions that you can take to lower the risk of your child experiencing this. When playing outside or engaging in activity be sure to take frequent water breaks. Wearing clothing that is not dark in color, heavy, or moisture retaining can help. When going outside try to plan activities at times the sun is not at its peak, or as the temperature is lowering.
If someone is experiencing heat stroke and treatment is not provided it can lead to death. The symptoms of heat stroke are a medical emergency and will need to be treated as soon as possible. Although there is no way to entirely avoid the potential for this to happen, there are adequate ways to limit the chance as well as how to respond.