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Heat Stroke - Something you Should Sweat

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 11:20 AM

The next fews days are supposed to be some of the hottest we've had yet this season. And with these high temps, it's important to remember that being outside for too long can lead to serious health concerns and risks if you’re not careful. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated and seek shade when you’re enjoying outdoor activities. Learn how to beat the summer heat by learning the signs and symptoms of heat stroke.

Joanna Davidson, MD, Emergency Medicine at NorthShore, shares some of the facts and warning signs for identifying heat illnesses:

    • As your core body temperature rises in the heat, various symptoms may arise. There are a range of heat illnesses that vary in severity. Early signs of the onset of heat illness include: thirst, excessive sweating, nausea, cramps, headaches, dizziness and fainting.
      • If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to drink plenty of fluids (water is best), seek a cool place (either indoors or in the shade) and rest. It may also help to take a cold shower.
    • Heat stroke is the most serious heat condition: am elevated core body temperation (typically over 103 Fahrenheit) with organ dysfunction or mental status changes.  When not properly treated, heat stroke can be fatal. If you suspect you or someone you know may have heat stroke, immediate medical attention is required. Delaying treatment may lead to brain and organ damage or death. There are 2 main types:
      • Classic (nonexertional) heat stroke affects individuals (most often patients over 70 years) with underlying chronic medical conditions that impair thermoregulation, prevent removal from a hot environment, or interfere with access to hydration or attempts at cooling. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease, neurologic or psychiatric disorders, obesity, anhidrosis, physical disability, extremes of age, and the use of recreational drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine, and certain prescription drugs, such as beta-blockers, diuretics, or anticholinergic agents.
      • Exertional heat stroke generally occurs in young, otherwise healthy individuals who engage in heavy exercise during periods of high ambient temperature and humidity.
    • Prolonged exposure to humidity and the sun can head to heat stroke—an indication that the body temperature is above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. When not properly treated, heat stroke can be fatal. If you suspect you or someone you know may have heat stroke, immediate medical attention is required. Delaying treatment may lead to brain and organ damage or death.