Avoiding Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke & Other Heat-Related Illness
When the temperature rises, the risk of a heat-related injury rises as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Red Cross, approximately 400 Americans die each year due to summer's heat and humidity. Everyone is at risk when temperatures rise above 90 degrees but the elderly and the very young are most susceptible to heat and heat-related illnesses. Here are some tips:
  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
  • Drink plenty of water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Take it easy. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 7 a.m.
  • Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.
  • Remember - never leave a child inside of a car - temperatures can heat up to over 120 degrees within minutes.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels).
General Care for Heat Emergencies
Heat Cramps or Heat Exhaustion
If someone you know is suffering from heat cramps or heat exhaustion get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. If the person is fully awake and alert, give half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not let him or her drink too quickly. Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets. Call 911 or the local emergency number if the person refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation! Help is needed fast. Call 911 or your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Immerse victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Watch for signals of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and continue to cool the body any way you can. If the victim refuses water or is vomiting or there are changes in the level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.