Know the warning signs of heatstroke so that you and your loved ones stay safe while playing in the summer heat.
When you and your family are spending time outdoors this summer, it is important to know how to identify heatstroke and seek immediate care.
Summer gives you and your family plenty of chances to be outside getting fresh air. Whether you are swimming, attending a family gathering, playing sports, hiking through the woods, or just relaxing in your own backyard, keep in mind that exposure to the sun and heat can lead to a dangerous condition called heatstroke. These heat safety tips can help you make sure that you recognize heatstroke right away.
Causes of Heatstroke
Heatstroke occurs when your body overheats, which can happen if you are outside in the heat for long periods of time. The higher the temperature is, the shorter amount of time it can take to get heatstroke, so you will need to use extra caution during heat waves. You can also get heatstroke from doing strenuous activities outside in the heat. When you have heatstroke, this condition can cause serious and potentially deadly damage to your heart, brain and other organs. Heatstroke is considered a medical emergency that requires immediate care.
Signs of Heatstroke
When you and your family are outside this summer, watch for any of the following signs of heatstroke and get immediate medical care:
- Behavioral changes, which can include confusion, mood changes, slurred speech and delirium. Seizures can also occur.
- Changes in sweating, which depends on the cause of heatstroke. When being out in the heat, your skin might feel dry rather than sweaty. If you are doing strenuous activities, you might have clammy or moist skin.
- High temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
- Nausea with or without vomiting.
- Reddish skin caused by a rising body temperature.
- Changes in breathing and heart rate, including rapid breathing and a racing pulse.
- Severe headache.
What to Do for Heatstroke
If a family member has signs of heatstroke, call 911 for immediate medical help. Right after calling, it is important to cool off your family member as quickly as possible as you wait for help to arrive. You can do this by going inside or to a shady area and using a garden hose, ice packs, moistened towels or sponges to lower their body temperature. You can also use a mist sprayer or a tub filled with cool water. Focus on cooling areas that typically overheat the most, such as the head, groin, armpits and neck.
How to Prevent Heatstroke
You can lower your risk of heatstroke this summer with these heat safety tips:
- Wear clothes that fit loosely and are made with lighter materials.
- Drink water often to stay hydrated.
- Avoid being outdoors during the hottest times of the day if possible.
- Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn, which can make it harder for your body to cool off.
In the heat of Kentucky’s summers, safety is key. When you are doing a search for a primary care doctor near you in Kentucky, you do not have to look far. Contact your local KentuckyCare by calling (270)-628-3333 to set up an appointment with a primary care provider so that you can be prepared for the summer heat!