Tips to Prevent, Recognize, and Respond to Heatstroke this Summer

Summertime means spending time outdoors and enjoying the rays of sunshine with friends and family. While taking in the warmth of the sunshine is beneficial for your health in many ways, it is also important to watch for signs of overheating, sunburn, etc.

Heatstroke is a common heat-related illness, more prevalent in the summer, caused by excessive exposure to or intense physical exertion in high temperatures. Symptoms of heatstroke include but are not limited to high body temperature, muscle cramps, heavy sweating, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and headache. One might also experience altered mental state or behavior such as confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, etc.

To prevent heatstroke, remember these best practices:

● Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing.

● Wear a hat or use an umbrella to create shade.

● Use sunscreen.

● Stay hydrated. Drink water or sports drinks while avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

● Limit outdoor activities during the hotter times of the day (around 10 am – 6 pm)

● Frequently take breaks from the heat and outdoor activities.

If you spot symptoms of heatstroke in yourself or others, it is very important that you know how to respond appropriately. Act immediately, keeping in mind the following:

● If outdoors, get out of the sun and move into the shade. Seek a cool place, with air conditioning if possible.

● Lie down and elevate legs to get the blood circulating.

● Remove any tight or extra clothing.

● Apply cool towels to the skin or take a cool (not cold) bath to keep the body temperature down.

● Slowly drink fluids such as water or sports drinks, avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

● Seek medical care if symptoms don’t improve. Fever above 102°F is also a sign to seek immediate medical help.

● Call 911 if someone goes into shock, faints, has seizures, or is not breathing.

Being exposed to a sufficient amount of sunlight not only feels good but also brings many health benefits when taken in moderation, as always. With these tips in mind, we hope you have a safe, fun summer!


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