(EFFINGHAM, IL) – Even though the new school year has begun, it doesn’t mean that summer is over. There are typically plenty of hot and humid days well into September, and with outdoor school sports activities starting like football, it is still an important time of year to exercise caution to prevent heatstroke.
HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital recommends taking the following measures to prevent heatstroke, which could cause serious complications or death:
• Wear loose fitting clothes – Loose fitting clothes allow for your body to cool properly as opposed to tight or heavy clothes.
• Drink plenty of fluids – Staying hydrated will help you maintain a normal body temperature and will help your body sweat.
• Protect yourself against sunburn – Use sunscreen, reapplying every two hours, as well as hats and sunglasses to protect against sunburns. Sit under the shade from time to time.
• Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day – Try to schedule outdoor activities in the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or the evening. The hottest part of the day is generally accepted as 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Heatstroke is a condition that requires emergency treatment to prevent serious complications or death. St. Anthony’s Medical Director of Emergency Department Kevin Oliver, DO, shared some heatstroke signs and symptoms. “If someone has been in a hot environment and demonstrates an altered mental state or behavior, such as acting confused, agitated, slurring their speech, irritable, delirious or experiences a seizure, that may be signs of heatstroke,” he said. “The main sign of heatstroke is a core body temperature of 103 degrees or higher.”
Other heatstroke signs and symptoms are:
• Nausea and vomiting – Vomiting may occur.
• Flushed skin – An increase in body temperature can lead to skin turning read.
• Rapid breathing – Breathing may become rapid and shallow.
• Racing heart rate – When a person experiences a heatstroke, the heart works overtime to help cool the body, therefore increasing the heartrate.
• Headache – Heatstroke can cause a throbbing headache.
If you suspect someone is experiencing a heatstroke, call 911 or seek medical assistance immediately.
For more tips for preventing heat-related illness, visit cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.