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Heatstroke Awareness: How to Spot, Prevent and Respond to Emergencies

Heatstroke Awareness: How to Spot, Prevent and Respond to Emergencies

Last year's highest temperature set a record.Prompting the US Department of Labor to remind employers Protect workers exposed to extreme heat.. In certain populations — such as older adults, young children, those who are less mobile and those who have Certain health conditions People whose jobs take them outdoors or in extreme heat are more prone to heat illness. This includes heatstroke, which can be fatal and is the most serious form of heat-related illness. According to a forecast by , summer 2024 is predicted to be a scorcher. The Weather Channel. Here's how to prepare for it.

Heat stroke can be caused by overexertion or strenuous activity, but “Classic” heat stroke It occurs when a person is exposed to a hot environment and their body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Most of the fatal diseases occur in workers during summer. The first few days of working in warm or hot weatherBecause the body hasn't had time to adjust to the rising temperature, according to the Labor Department.

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We see heat stroke “especially in the elderly, in very young children, like babies, and when we see these heat waves that last for days,” says Dr. Corinne Hudson, MD, of the emergency room at MedStar Health. said the physician.

What to know if you or someone around you starts experiencing heat stroke symptoms.

Read more: Is it heat stroke or heat exhaustion?

Symptoms of heat stroke

Sometimes, heat stroke may start with symptoms of heat exhaustion, which is not as severe as heat stroke, but still requires one to cool down as quickly as possible. Symptoms of heat exhaustion Symptoms include nausea, headache, cold skin, fast or weak pulse, and other symptoms. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. If your symptoms get worse, last more than an hour or you start vomiting, call 911.

Symptoms of heat stroke, according to Mayo Clinic And US Centers for Disease Control and PreventionIncluded:

  • Altered mental status, including confusion, agitation and slurred speech
  • Hot, flushed, usually dry skin (however, if your heat stroke was brought on by exercise, it may be slightly moist, the Mayo Clinic says)
  • Headache
  • Visits
  • Very high body temperature (104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
  • Breathing fast
  • A racing heart

A glass of water running under a running faucet A glass of water running under a running faucet

Keeping hydrated by Drink plenty of waterBoth before you go outside and while you're out in the heat, it's an important step to prevent heat illness.

Peter Cade/Getty Images

1. Call 911.

Having heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires professional care.

If more than one person is around to help a person suffering from heat stroke, Hudson recommends that one person call 911 while the other helps the victim through the steps below.

2. Move to a cool area immediately.

If you are around someone who has heat stroke, Move them to a cool area.such as in a nearby air-conditioned room or in the shade.

Hudson says both are good options, but “try to get them out of the heat as soon as possible.” The goal is to cool the body's core temperature.

3. Remove excess clothing.

Removing long-sleeved shirts, pants, or other clothing will help a person cool down faster. Hudson says the goal is to reach “evaporative cooling,” and clothing can block evaporation. You can also consider. Cool clothes which works with your body to keep you cooler and more comfortable.

For those who “choose to run in layers to lose weight,” Hudson says, you probably shouldn't. dangerous and can lead to heat stroke.)

4. Apply ice, cold towels or cold water to the skin

If you have something like a cool towel or a water bottle, place it around your or the other person's neck, armpits, or back. While you wait for help to arrive, you can too. Splash them with cold water or put them in a cold shower. Anything to cool them down. In fact, cold water immersion or an ice bath is a treatment for heat stroke that doctors can use in the hospital.

But Do not give alcohol The CDC says that anyone experiencing heat stroke. This is different advice from someone who is experiencing it. Heat exhaustion, which usually precedes heat stroke. While someone suffering from heat exhaustion can be given sips of water or a sports drink, a person experiencing heat stroke may become confused, lose consciousness, or have an altered state of consciousness.

“Because they have a depressed or altered level of consciousness, it can affect their ability to swallow safely, so it's best not to give them anything to eat,” she says.

Check on your neighbors.

Some people are more susceptible to heat illness and heat stroke, such as older adults, young children, people with mobility problems, certain health conditions and People who are taking certain medications.Including common medications such as blood pressure or antidepressant medications.

In the event of a heat wave, take special care to check in with your elderly neighbor down the hall, or a friend who has trouble getting around, according to Hudson.

“This is the time when we advise people to check on their neighbors,” he said. “Especially in places where people don't have access to air conditioning or have any way to cool down.”

“They feel bad but can't do anything about it,” Hudson added.

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