March 28, 2023

5 Ways to Prevent Heat Stroke in a Heat Wave

5 Ways to Prevent Heat Stroke in a Heat Wave

As temperatures soar, so do Laredo Emergency Room visits for heat stroke. A potentially fatal condition, heat stroke is more serious than heat exhaustion, though symptoms can be similar. Let’s look first at how to identify the signs of heat illness like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Both conditions may present with headache, nausea or vomiting, muscle weakness or cramping, fast heart rate, and fainting or loss of consciousness. However, heat exhaustion is differentiated by dizziness, heavy sweating, and cold, clammy skin. On the other hand, seizures, skin that is red, dry, and hot along with confusion and a body temperature of 104° F or more is a sign of heat stroke, a medical emergency.

With the heat wave that settles in every summer here in Laredo, you’ll want to know how to prevent heat illness. Here are easy ways you can keep your cool:


1. Make hydration a habit

Drinking plenty of water and other hydrating fluids as part of your daily routine is great for you for many reasons – and it can also prevent heat stroke by helping to regulate your body temperature in hot conditions. Stay hydrated by drinking fluids both before going out into extreme temperatures and while you’re out in the heat —and avoid drinking alcohol, which can dehydrate you, in the heat of the day.


2. Watch what you wear.

By wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, your body can better cool itself. In contrast, dark clothing absorbs heat, and a tight fit hinders the cooling process. Wearing abroad-brimmed hat to shade your head and shoulders can also help. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of30 or greater to avoid sunburn and preserve your skin’s ability to stay cool.

3. Have an outside strategy.

In hotter temperatures, heading outdoors whenever the mood strikes may put you in danger. Instead, schedule outside time in the morning and evenings, when temperatures are cooler. When outside, take frequent breaks in the shade or inside an air-conditioned space. When possible, trade outdoor activities, like exercise, for indoor alternatives.  


4. Beware the parked car.

The temperature inside a parked car can rise incredibly quickly, even with slightly lowered windows. In fact, the CDC reports that in just 10 minutes, a vehicle’s inside temperature can rise 20 degrees. Anyone sitting in a parked car is at risk for heat illness, especially children and the elderly. For this reason, never leave someone in a parked car. To remind yourself to check the back seat, put a child’s belonging, like a stuffed animal, next to you in the front seat whenever a child is bucked up in back.


5. Seek care when you have symptoms.

If you or someone you love begins to experience heat illness symptoms that don’t improve with rest, a cool environment, or cool compresses — or have symptoms of heat stroke, such as an extremely high temperature or hot, red skin and confusion — it’s time to head to Laredo Emergency Room. Our physicians are experienced at treating heat stroke and heat exhaustion and can get you feeling better fast.

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