Heat Stroke:  Know the Signs

Pflugerville Fire Dept./Travis County ESD No. 2

During hot and humid weather, your body has a harder time cooling.  When the body heats up too quickly to properly cool itself – or when too much fluid/salt is lost through sweating or dehydration – the victim may suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke which is very serious.  Below are tips on preventing heat stroke, recognizing its symptoms, and first aid. And remember: never leave kids, pets, or disabled adults alone in parked cars … not even for a few minutes!  Have a safe and enjoyable summer everybody.

PREVENTING HEAT STROKE

  • Slow down! Reduce, cancel or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day
  • Even if you don’t feel thirsty, proactively bring and drink plenty of water (not very cold) or other non-alcoholic, decaffeinated fluids
  • Prevent sunburn through sunscreen, sunhats, and minimizing direct exposure to the sun; a sunburn reduces your body’s ability to cool down
  • Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight
  • Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salad
  • Take a cool bath or shower
  • Spend time in air-conditioned locations
  • When the room temperature is hotter than 90°, don’t direct the flow of portable electric fans toward you because the dry, blowing air may further dehydrate you

HEAT STROKE SYMPTOMS

  • Altered mental state or confusion
  • Hot, red, dry, or moist skin
  • One or more of these symptoms: dizziness, throbbing headache, nausea, shallow breathing
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Body temperature 103°F or greater

FIRST AID FOR HEAT STROKE

  • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency! Call 9-1-1 or get the victim to a hospital immediately
  • Get to a cooler setting, preferably air-conditioned
  • Do not give fluids
  • Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or a bath
  • Use a fan only IF the heat index is BELOW the high-90s

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