Summer months arrive with hot weather – and a high risk of heat stroke. If you don’t recognize the warning signs of heat stroke, you can be putting yourself in danger. Plus, the older you are, the higher your heat stroke risk is – along with a higher risk of resulting complications.
Unlike hypothermia, a condition induced by extremely cold temperatures, heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed by intense heat and is unable to control its own temperature anymore.
You may be prone to heat stroke of you don’t have air conditioning, can’t move around, wear too much clothing, and live in crowded areas.
Other risk factors for heat stroke include dehydration, poor blood circulation, decreased sweat production due to aging, multiple medications, high blood pressure, heart, lung, and kidney diseases, being underweight or overweight, and alcohol consumption.
Individuals with chronic health conditions are advised to remain indoors when humidity and air pollution levels rise. Those who do not have air conditioning at home should seek out cooler air in malls or community centers.
Warning signs of heat stroke include:
- Confusion or combativeness
- Strong, rapid pulse
- Dry, flushed skin
- Lack of sweating
- Feeling faint
If a person is experiencing warning signs of heat stroke, they should remain still in a lying down position – ideally, in an air conditioned room. Cold, damp clothes should be applied for cooling down. If the person is able to swallow, they should be given nonalcoholic fluids.