Weather
7:14 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Avoiding Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke

The Kansas City area is under a heat advisory.  That means it can be dangerous to stay outdoors for long.  People who do spend time in the sweltering heat are at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are both caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures or working or exercising outside in hot weather.  Heat exhaustion is the milder form.

The Mayo Clinic warns people to watch for these heat exhaustion symptoms.

  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature reaches 104 F.   Those suffering from heatstroke should seek immediate medical attention.   While waiting for emergency personnel, move the person suffering from heatstroke to a cool or shady location and  cool them with ice packs or wet towels.  If untreated, heatstroke can  damage major organs, including the brain, kidneys, and heart.

Besides a high body temperature, the Mayo Clinic lists several other symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Lack of sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Racing heart rate
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Muscle cramps or weakness

Experts say the best thing is to avoid heat related illnesses by staying out of the heat, but for people who must go outside, they recommend the following measures.

  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothes.
  • Avoid sunburn.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Ask a doctor or pharmacist about medications.
  • Let your body acclimate.