You read that right: Heat stroke is no joke!
Summertime is in full swing and that means hot temperatures will be a fixture.
When it comes to summer safety, extreme heat and heat stroke are often not top-of-mind. Other hazards like drowning and tick-borne illnesses are the things about which we’re vigilant.
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable as long as you’re armed with knowledge on the signs and symptoms to look for. Despite this fact, more than 600 die every year from heat-related causes, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you live in a densely packed, urban area you’re at greater risk, too. Temperatures in cities, such as Boston where asphalt covers more of the ground than the leafy suburbs, are higher.
As with most health concerns, there are groups of people at higher risk for heat related illnesses or deaths. These groups, according to the CDC, include those over 65 years of age, the very young, people with chronic medical conditions, outdoor workers, athletes and low income households because they may not have air conditioning.
In Los Angeles, California last week, a 63-year-old U.S. Postal worker was found dead in her mail truck after a heat stroke, where temperatures were estimated to be around 117 degrees.
It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to hot weather – heat can sneak up suddenly and to the point of detriment.
There are two types of heat stroke: one that comes on suddenly, known as exertional, and the traditional type that is gradual and affects, mostly, the young and old.
One of the most important things you can do in the heat is stay hydrated. You can also find shade quickly if you start to feel sick from the heat.
Below are 7 signs as to watch out for when it comes to heat stroke as mentioned in Prevention Magazine:
- High body temperature – particularly a body temperature of 103 or more.
- A lack of sweat or an abundance of it; when you’re in the extreme heat too long, the body stops trying to maintain its internal thermometer.
- Confusion or trouble walking
- Dizziness, nausea or vomiting
- Skin redness
- An elevated heart rate or trouble breathing
If you have questions about extreme heat and the affects it has, contact a Lahey Health doctor for an appointment.