A few weeks ago, I was invited to go fishing with my good friend and well-known fishing guide, Captain Lee Parsons. As it got closer to time for the trip, it was clear that the summer heat would be a concern for me. So, I called Lee a few days before and shared my concerns and asked if we could reschedule until another day. He agreed. The next day, Lee had a charter trip. It was again a hot day with temperatures in the mid 90’s.
Later that day, Lee appeared to have the symptoms of a HEAT STROKE. It was an event that posed great concern not only to Lee, but also his friends. Over the weeks that followed, his conditions improved slowly but surely. It was a concerning event that can happen to anyone and can carry long lasting and serious health issues. With that, there was a lesson learned
With the summer temperatures still beating down, here are several things you need to know. They include the warning signs and how you can prevent this serious health concern.
Understanding and Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Stroke
Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions. Heat exhaustion begins with general muscle weakness, sudden excessive sweating, nausea and vomiting, and possible fainting. A heat stroke is when your body’s internal temperature reaches over 103 degrees. You begin experiencing a loss or change of consciousness, agitated, unexplained behavior changes, hot, red, and dry skin. All these symptoms should be taken seriously. Call your medical professionals immediately upon onset. If you experience heat exhaustion for an extended period of time, heatstroke may occur. While many experience heat exhaustion symptoms before heat stroke, it’s not always the case.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if the person does not receive emergency treatment.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness (coma)
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Very high body temperature
- Fatal if treatment delayed
Take the following steps to treat a person with heat stroke:
- Call 911 for emergency medical care.
- Stay with the person until emergency medical services arrive.
- Move the worker to a shaded, cool area and remove outer clothing.
- Cool the person quickly, using the following methods:
- With a cold water or ice bath, if possible
- Wet the ski
- Place cold wet cloths on the skin
- Soak clothing with cool water
- Circulate the air around the worker to speed cooling. Place cold wet cloths or ice on the head, neck, armpits, and groin; or soak the clothing with cool water.
Be safe and STAY COOL!
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