Is it heat exhaustion or heat stroke?
June 22, 2023
HSHS hospitals offer tips for prevention and to recognize the differenceEau Claire and Chippewa Falls, WI –Temperatures across the state are expected to reach 90 degrees or higher in the coming days, and HSHS hospitals are offering tips to help you stay cool.
Heat exhaustion happens before heat stroke says Tyler Bowe, trauma coordinator at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals. “Heat exhaustion is when your body can’t control its temperature and needs to cool down, which can usually be accomplished by going indoors or into the shade, drinking water and maybe using a cold cloth on your skin.
“Heat stroke is a medical emergency when your body is too overwhelmed and suddenly you stop sweating, preventing the body temperature from dropping.”
HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals recommend the following measures to prevent heat stroke, which could cause serious complications within minutes or hours:
- Wear loose fitting clothing – This will allow your body to cool properly.
- Drink plenty of fluids, even if you’re not thirsty – Staying hydrated will help maintain a normal body temperature and will help your body sweat. Water is the best form of hydration, but sports drinks can replenish electrolytes, especially if consumed in combination with water.
- Protect yourself against sunburn – Use sunscreen, reapplying every two hours, as well as hats and sunglasses to protect against sunburns. Take shade breaks.
- 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 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Avoid alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
Heat stroke signs and symptoms may include:
- High body temperature of 104 degrees or higher.
- Altered mental state or behavior such as confusion, slurred speech, irritability, deliriousness or if the person experiences a seizure and they have been in a hot environment.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Flushed skin.
- Rapid breathing.
- Racing heart rate.
The emergency departments at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, 900 W. Clairemont Ave. in Eau Claire and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2661 Hwy I in Chippewa Falls are open 24/7 if you suspect heat stroke is occurring and symptoms are not improving.
About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.
About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states - Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.
Communications Department HSHS Wisconsin