Heat Stroke? Really!?
Can We Talk About Heat Stroke?
We know, we know… we’ll have more cold days, and more recorded rain for Winter as usual, but the thing is….
Can You Spot Heat Stroke?
Let’s face it – in this Washington weather, when the sun comes out we go running for it. It’s our big glowing invitation to get out and explore the trails, parks and lakes our beautiful state has to offer. Of course we remember to lather up in sunscreen to protect that Northwestern skin, but is there something we’re forgetting?
Just like our largest external organ – our skin – our internal organs need to be protected from the sun too. When our bodies aren’t properly hydrated, our internal temperature control system fails to function properly. Heat Stroke is the result of a combination of prolonged exposure to heat and dehydration, both things we Washingtonians are quite unfamiliar with. As we are out enjoying the warm day that comes all too rarely, it is easy to forget to stay hydrated.
Heat Stroke Looks Like This
There are is a mild progression of other heat-related illnesses to look out for leading up to experiencing a heat stroke:
- Muscle weakness or cramping
- Lack of sweating despite heat
- Hot, dry skin
The best thing to do for someone experiencing heat stroke is call 911. This illness can be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal. While waiting for emergency medical services to arrive, try to cool down the individual. You can do this in several different ways depending on the supplies you have available. If ice packs are handy, try placing them on the person’s neck, armpits, groin or back. These places have blood vessels close to the skin and will help speed up the cooling process. Other ways to cool down a heat stroke victim include fanning them, patting their skin with wet cloths, or spraying or immersing them in cool water.
While most heat stroke victims are 50 years or older, knowing the signs and symptoms can be helpful at any age. During your outdoor Summer activities, remember to be aware of what is going on around you and keep an eye out for medical emergencies like these.
Try some of these helpful tips when it comes to staying cool:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Wear light-weight, loosely fitting light colored clothes
- Try to keep outdoor activities during the morning or evening when it is much cooler
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