Don’t we just love those long, hot summer days in the sun? Keep in mind, however, that the high temperatures and excessive humidity can pose dangers. One of the dangers to be aware of is that of heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs as a result long, extreme exposure to the sun. When a person does not sweat enough to lower body temperature core temperature rises quickly and heatstroke occurs.
The first aid tips in this article in no way precludes immediate medical attention. Heatstroke can be extremely damaging to you health. It progresses very quickly and is life threatening. While there are first aid measures that can be taken, heatstroke is a medical emergency. Time is crucial and help should be summoned immediately.
Infants and the elderly are among the group at high risk for heatstroke. Also vulnerable are the obese, alcoholics, persons taking certain medications, or those with cardiovascular disease.
Another group that may be at risk is the summer athlete. As with any prolonged physical activity, summer sports can be potentially dangerous. An excellent source of information on heat stroke and how it relates to summer sports can be found at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute online. At
http://www.gssiweb.com/reflib/refs/597/SSE86.cfm?pid=96 there is an comprehensive article about prevention and treatment of heatstoke in summer sports.
Some risk factors for heat stroke include dehydration. alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, and medications.
The important thing to remember is that when high temperatures and humidity are present conditions are right for heat stroke. There are some preventive measures you should take if you are going to be in the heat for extensive hours. This is especially necessary if you are planning prolonged physical activity.
Have plenty of water and/or sports drinks on hand to prevent dehydration. Wear clothing that allows you to sweat and will prevent overheating. Heat stroke results from the body’s inability to sweat and keep itself cool. Take breaks and sit in a shaded area to cool down.
Some early warning signs of heatstroke may include a rapid rise in body temperature (104 F or higher), irritability, confusion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, hot, dry red skin, hallucinations, and rapid heart beat. There may even be be loss of consciousness.
If you suspect someone has heat stroke take action quickly. Have someone call 911 for help. Get the person out of the sun into a shaded or air-conditioned area.
If possible immerse the person in a tub of ice water, or spray them with a garden hose. If nothing else wrap them in cool sheets. Whatever means you have, the objective is to cool them down as quickly as possibly. Monitor them closely. Cool the person until their body temperature drops to 101-102F.
Move quickly, if not treated, heat stroke can be fatal in with-in the hour. If medical assistance does not arrive after you have cooled them down, call a hospital emergency room for further advice.
In conclusion, when enjoying the intense heat and humidity of summer remember to wear lightweight, breatheable clothing. Keep plenty of water and sports drinks on hand. Schedule heavy physical activity for cooler hours of the day. Acclimate yourself to the sun and heat by spending short times in the sun at first. With these few steps in mind may you all have a wonderful summer whenever it comes to your part of the globe.