By Len C. Jorge
Heat stroke is one of the most dangerous heat-related illnesses, and it can be severe or fatal. Studies show that heat-related deaths have been on the rise in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States alone, there is an average of 702 annual heat-related deaths, 67,512 emergency department visits, and an average of 9,235 hospitalized people due to heat each year. Meanwhile, the Department of Health – DOH recorded 118 cases of heat exhaustion in March alone.
What do we need to know about heat stroke, and how severe it can be?
Heat stroke may happen when the body temperature is above 40C. This usually happens after exposure to high temperatures. Due to climate change, there are places around the globe that experience elevated temperatures during summertime, thus increasing the incidents of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke. Heat stroke can be fatal if not attended right away.
What are the signs and symptoms of heat stroke?
- Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures, and coma can all result from heatstroke.
- Extremely high body temperature.
- In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
- Loss of consciousness (coma)
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Significantly increased pulse because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
Here are some of the first aid according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC.
- Stay with the person until emergency medical services arrive.
- Move the person to a shaded cool area and remove outer clothing.
- Cool the person quickly, using the following methods:
- With cold water or ice bath, if possible
- Wet the skin place cold wet cloths on the skin
- Soak clothing with cool water
- Circulate the air around the worker to speed cooling.
- Place cold wet cloths or ice on the head, neck, armpits, and groin; or soak the clothing with cool water.
How to prevent heat stroke?
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Get acclimated. Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it.
- Be cautious if you’re at increased risk.
- Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
If you suspect someone is having a heat stroke, call emergency services immediately.
Len C. Jorge, Compliance and Business Excellence. Len loves to travel, and she loves nature! She’s a taker of a good coffee and good conversation. Every travel she ventures, she makes sure it’s the best experience – every place is special. She loves going to places she has never been and meeting lovely people along the way. She always does what her heart beats for.