How to Avoid Heat Stroke this Summer

Whether you are spending the summer at home or away, a hot climate can really help add to your relaxation and enjoyment. It is wise, however, to take proper precautions before spending too much time in the sun. Heat stroke is as unpleasant as it is dangerous, which is why you need to make sure you take steps to avoid it.

What is heat stroke?

A heat stroke is a condition that is triggered when your body overheats. During a heat stroke, your body temperature rises to 104ºF or higher, followed by the rapid onset of many possible symptoms.

These symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting, confusion, racing heart, flushed skin, altered behavior, exhaustion, collapsing / fainting, and irritation. Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms at once. If left untreated, heat stroke can cause organ failure and even death, so it is essential that you stay on top of your health while in the sunshine.

Preventing a heat stroke

Avoiding heat stroke can be simple so long as you are well prepared. Use these steps to prepare yourself for the outdoors.

Step 1

Address your clothing needs, and make sure you have weather-appropriate attire. Choose cooler, more breathable materials to help prevent heat stroke. Lighter colors are less likely to absorb heat from the sun. Also, consider wearing open-toed shoes or flip flops to go with the breathable material you choose.

Step 2

Pack appropriate sunscreen, and apply it regularly. Your sunscreen should have the appropriate SPF level for your destination, but we recommend a minimum of 15. Very hot climates may require you to use a higher factor sunscreen. If you go swimming or take a shower, make sure you reapply your sunscreen afterwards, even if it is waterproof. Always apply sunscreen to children and the elderly regularly.

Step 3

Stay hydrated . Make sure you sip water regularly, especially if you are also drinking alcohol or exercising. Avoid alcohol if possible.

Step 4

Wear a hat. A hat will keep the direct sunlight off of your head, giving you a better chance of staying cool. A wide brimmed hat will also help to protect some other areas of your body, such as your neck and shoulders.

Step 5

Take regular breaks to cool off. This is especially important if you are walking long distances in the sun. Make sure you plan your route so that you can seek shade along the way as well as places with air conditioning. It is also a good idea to find rest stops where your water can be refilled.

Step 6

Get ample airflow. If you are travelling anywhere by car, keep the windows open to allow oxygen to circulate around the car. Turn on the air conditioning if necessary. Never leave a person or pet alone in a locked car with the doors and windows shut during a hot day. This can very quickly lead to heat stroke and even death.

Step 7

Consider anyone who is particularly high risk for a heat stroke , and check on them regularly. If you are with an elderly, pregnant, or very young person, ask them how they are feeling, and take regular steps to keep them cool.

Step 8

Use a portable fan in particularly stagnant environments to keep your face cool and air flowing.

Step 9

Ensure all of your regular medications are with you and stored appropriately for the heat. Some conditions can make you more susceptible to heat stroke and skipping medications can heighten your risk further.

Step 10

Talk to your pharmacist in advance of a heat wave. Talk about any concerns you have relating to the weather or any pre-existing medical condition you have that you feel might be affected by exposure to the sun.

What should you do if you think you have heat stroke?

If you think you are experiencing a heat stroke, seek immediate medical attention. While you are waiting for assistance, use ice packs to cool yourself down, and sit within a shaded, air conditioned area. If you have access to a shower or bath, get into the cool water to cool down. You can also use a fan or a sponge to try and bring the temperature down. If you are confused, dazed, or slurring, try drinking cold water and attempt to stay awake and talking while waiting for help.

For more information

Do not let the heat ruin your summer. Contact Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at (501) 404-2740 for more information about staying safe and well prepared for the months ahead.