Heatstroke is a serious condition that can result in seizures, organ failure, and more. And before you get heatstroke, you’ll experience a milder condition called heat exhaustion. Knowing signs of both can help you keep yourself and your friends safe.

Who Is at Risk for Heat Illness

Things that increase the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include:

  • Exercising in high temperatures and humidity
  • Poor fitness
  • Being large (whether you’re obese or very muscular)
  • Dehydration
  • Wearing or carrying gear, like football pads or a hiking pack
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Using certain medications or supplements, including beta blockers and diuretics
  • Any disability or illness that makes it harder for you to get out of the heat or to cool yourself

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when your core body temperature is elevated, but not enough to involve your brain. If you or an overheated friend shows any sign of being confused, for example, assume it’s heat stroke and get medical help right away.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may include, according to the CDC:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • A fast, weak pulse

If you begin to feel these symptoms, start cooling yourself down right away: move to the shade or air conditioning, loosen your clothing, have a cold drink, and keep watch for any signs that you’re feeling worse or not getting better. If you haven’t recovered within an hour, seek medical help.

Summer is really starting to heat up and heatstroke is becoming more and more of an real danger. Let’s go over some common tips that you can incorporate into your life to keep cool through this heat wave:

1. Don’t overexert yourself, especially while outdoors under the sun.

2. Stay inside during the hottest parts of the day, using fans and AC when possible.

3. Drink plenty of water and liquids with electrolytes, especially when excessively sweating.

4. Freeze a water bottle the night before and enjoy cool water throughout the day.

5. Wear loose and breatheable clothing.

6. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine as these will dehydrate you prematurely.

Dehydration and Strokes

Studies have shown that people who are afflicted with heart disease and/or have previously suffered a stroke can reduce their risk of a future, fatal stroke by half just by keeping properly hydrated. … A lack of water leads to thickening of the blood, making a stroke all the more likely.

For more information on strokes, contact Dr. David Brown, MD (stroke specialist)