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 can require emergency treatment to prevent serious complications, especially for those who are most vulnerable such as infants and children, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight and people who are on certain medications. If you suspect someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 or seek medical assistance immediately.
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.