Heatstroke is sneaky and silent – and it can kill! Knowing the causes and treatment can be vital for you and your loved ones.
In case of heatstroke…
Could you recognize the signs of heatstroke – on yourself or someone else? Knowing when to seek medical assistance is crucial, says Dr. Raukar. At the slightest sign of confusion, if it is very hot, you must absolutely lower the victim’s internal temperature by guiding them to a cooler area, by making them drink water, and by relaxing their clothes to allow its body to dissipate heat while applying cold compresses to as much skin as you can.
1) Heatstroke, are you aware of the danger?
When your internal temperature reaches 40.5º C (105º F) and the body can no longer cool down, you risk getting heatstroke, says Jessica Bixenmann, health and behavior change coach in San Diego.
2) Here are the symptoms you should watch out for:
skin that takes on a shiny red, greyish or darker shade.
Symptoms of a more advanced condition can range from seizures to fainting. No one is immune to heat stroke and it is one of the most serious consequences of heat. “It is a real medical emergency which, if left untreated, can leave serious damage to organs such as the heart, the kidneys and even the brain”, recalls Dr Christos Photopoulos, orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine in Los Angeles. The good news is that this type of injury is perfectly preventable.
3) Risk of heat stroke if you wear too much clothing
Dark, thick clothing can make your temperature rise, warns Neha Raukar, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University. And forget about tight-fitting clothes if you exercise outside. “Loose, light clothing is a good idea if you’re active and it’s hot,” says Dr. Raukar. Tight clothing can block the evaporation of perspiration, a condition in which the body cools and which, if upset, can cause your body temperature to rise dangerously. “
4) Risk of heat stroke if you do not use sunscreen
We know you need to apply sun protection to your skin in the summer – get rid of those prejudices about sunscreen. This is essential because burns increase the risk of heatstroke, says Dr. Michael Smith of WebMD. Take sunscreen with an SPF (seasonal protection factor) of 30 or more. To be sure you have the maximum protection, you need to apply around 30 grams (the equivalent of a shot glass). Studies show that most people only get half or even a quarter of that amount, which means that the SPF they have on their body is less than what the tube says! If you spend the whole day on the beach, you should use between a quarter and a half of a 240 ml (8 oz) bottle. Sun protection should be applied about 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the active ingredients to penetrate the skin well, and should then be applied every two hours or whenever you bathe, take wipe or sweat profusely.
5) You train during the hot hours of the day
Avoid as much as possible to train under a strong sun. If you really have to go outside, at least try to do it during the cooler hours of the day (early morning or after sunset). If you exercise in the heat, drink every 15 minutes. Watch for symptoms of dehydration if, for example, you often lick your lips, have sunken eyes, or experience loss of energy. If you’ve ever had heatstroke, training outside when it’s very hot is frankly not recommended because you’re at risk of having one again, says Jessica Bixenmann. In fact, any strenuous activity during hot weather – mowing the lawn, dancing at a concert, playing softball, etc. – may cause a heart problem, warns Dr. Raukar. Taking frequent breaks, preferably in a cooler area, will help you regulate your internal temperature.
6) You are dehydrated
Make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water and watching for signs of dehydration. The best way to control this is to monitor your urine. “Make sure it’s light in color,” advises Jessica Bixenmann. It is difficult to recommend to people the exact amount of water to drink each day. You must define it according to your weight and your state of health. Monitoring the color of your urine is the best way to know if you are hydrated. Dr. Smith adds that if you sweat a lot, it would be better to choose a sports drink containing electrolytes than water. He also recommends drinking 750 ml (3 cups) of water a few hours before exercising or working outside and then absorbing 250 ml (1 cup) every 20 minutes during the activity. – even if you are not thirsty.
7) You go out at the wrong time
Do not go outside during the hottest hours of the day – usually between 10 a.m. and 4 a.m. The higher the sun in the sky, the more intense it is. Dr. Smith recommends paying attention to the heat index, which gives you the temperature felt by crossing humidity and air temperature. “If the humidity exceeds 60%, your body’s ability to cool through the evaporation of perspiration is compromised,” he explains. In this situation, the risk of overheating increases, so extra care should be taken. When the heat index exceeds 90%, the risk increases considerably. So watch for it during heat waves and avoid getting in direct sunlight, which can increase the heat index by about ten degrees.
8) You have a health problem
The risk of heatstroke is increased if you have heart, lung, kidney, obesity, hypertension or diabetes, says Dr. Smith. In addition, some groups, such as people over 65 and children under the age of four, are even more at risk as their bodies adjust more slowly to the heat. Certain drugs can also increase the risk, adds Jennifer Caudle, family doctor and assistant professor at the School of Osteopathy at Rowan University. This includes beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers (which are often taken by people with heart conditions), diuretics, certain psychiatric medications, diet pills, and antibiotics. Illegal drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, and mushrooms can also increase the risk of heatstroke. “People should be wary of drugs that reduce their body’s ability to cool down,” said Dr. Vijay Jotwani of Houston. This includes the antihistamines that many people take for allergies. ”