Recognizing the Warning Signs of Heat Stroke
How do you recognize heat stroke? The following information will help you better understand
Nashville, Ark. – Summer is officially here! While we may not be dealing with extreme temperatures this week, soon we will be at the100 degree mark. When temperatures and humidity combine, they can make a deadly combination. It is important to be aware of the signs of heat stroke and to take precautions to prevent it from happening.
Heat stroke can affect anyone from infants and the elderly to athletes and workers whose jobs are mostly outside. In Arkansas, where temperatures go from temperate to terrible in a day, knowing how to avoid, recognize and treat heat stroke is vital in surviving our summer weather.
Heat stroke happens when our body’s cooling system fails, raising our body heat to dangerously high levels. When we’ve been outside working, exercising or playing when it is very hot outside, and we haven’t had enough water to drink or time to cool off, a heat stroke can happen. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.
Warning signs to look for include high body temperature, nausea, headache, dizziness, extreme fatigue, no perspiration on the skin, hot red or flushed skin which is dry to the touch, difficulty breathing/rapid heartbeat, hallucinations and odd behavior such as confusion, agitation and disorientation. If you recognize any of these signs in a person and think they may be experiencing heat stroke, you should immediately call 911. Then get them inside to a cool place and have them lie down while elevating their feet. Use cool compresses or ice packs placed at armpits and back of the neck to cool them off quickly.
Give the person sips of water to rehydrate them. Be sure they drink slowly and in small amounts at a time so they don’t get sick. Keep doing this until medical personnel have arrived.
If you are going to be outside – whether it’s to work or play – wear loose-fitting clothes in a light shade. Cover your head with a hat or cap, and drink plenty of water before, during and after you are in the sun. Avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
Stay inside during the heat of the day. Schedule outdoor activities during cooler times of the day; early in the morning or at dusk. Humidity is especially risky to overheating. If it is humid out and hot, just stay indoors, especially if you have existing medical conditions, are pregnant or elderly. Check on people who are at a higher risk more often during times of extreme heat.
Remember, to keep cool during hot times of the summer and use common sense when working or playing outside. For more information on preventing or recognizing the warning symptoms of heat, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Recipe of the Week
Infused waters are popular and a great way to increase your water intake. Try making your own infused waters using fresh fruits and vegetables. Here is a recipe to get you started. If you would like more recipes, contact me at the Extension Office.
Berry Kiwi or Orange Infused Water
10 strawberries or blackberries
1 kiwi or 1 orange
Slice kiwi or orange. Add berries and enough water to fill a 2 quart pitcher. Chill overnight in the refrigerator for the most flavor. Store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Yield: 2 quarts
By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
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