If you’re planning some fun in the sun this summer or if your job requires you to be outdoors, it’s a good idea to become informed of the dangers of heat-related illnesses. Individuals, who are already ill, are working out in high temperatures and humidity, and those who are very young or old are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Heatstroke is the most severe heat illness and it requires emergency care .
Heatstroke can be a serious condition; however, it is preventable. You can reduce your risk of heat-related illnesses by avoiding alcoholic beverages, wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, and drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. If you plan to exercise, consider working out indoors in the air conditioning or exercise outdoors during the early morning or evening hours. While you’re outdoors, take frequent breaks in the shade or air conditioning to cool off. Before getting into a car that has been parked in a sunny area, turn on the air conditioning and wait for it to cool down.
Identifying the Symptoms
There are different stages of heat illness . The first is heat cramps, which involves symptoms such as fatigue, thirst, and muscle cramps. If left untreated, it may progress to heat exhaustion, which is characterized by dizziness, weakness, headache, nausea, and dark urine. Lastly, heatstroke can cause fever, confusion, rapid and shallow breathing, irrational behavior, seizures, and unconsciousness. If left untreated, heatstroke may cause organ failure, brain damage, and death.
Responding to Heatstroke
If any of the symptoms of heatstroke are observed, you’ll need emergency care at a nearby hospital. Call 911 right away. While waiting for the emergency responders, move to a cool area, lie down, and elevate your feet. Sip a sports drink or salted water, if available. Otherwise, sip a cool, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverage.
Good Samaritan Hospital of San Jose is fully equipped to handle any medical emergency, including heatstroke. Our emergency care team also provides rapid evaluation and treatment for patients who require cardiac care. To inquire about the healthcare services at our community hospital, please call (408) 819-0558. If you require emergency care, please call 911 immediately.