We love to talk about hydration. It is one of the simplest things you can do to generate more vitality.* But sometimes it’s not always possible to keep hydrated, especially given the record-breaking temperatures we are facing this summer. This week we take a look at heat stroke: what are the signs of heat stroke and what can you do when you or a friend experiences it?
First of all let’s look at the differences between heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Think of heat exhaustion as the precursor to heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is basically your body trying to tell you to get the heck out of the sun. You’ll feel weak and dizzy, you might start to sweat. Your heart rate speeds up, but is weak. You might actually feel cold and clammy. Take note of these symptoms and take action: get cool! Drink lots of water (no alcohol or coffee), lay down and elevate your feet, bathe your forehead with a cool, wet washcloth.
Heat stroke, on the other hand, is a full-on medical emergency. Take note and take action! Prevention.com gives the following signs of heat stroke:
1. High body temperature
If your body temperature hits 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you could be dealing with heat stroke, according to the CDC. If you take someone’s temperature and it’s lower than that—but they still exhibit other heat stroke symptoms or feel that something is wrong—you should still do what you can to cool them down and get medical help, says Pryor.
That’s because thermometers aren’t always accurate. “Someone might have a body temperature of 106, but if you get an oral temperature, they might only be 100 degrees,” he warns. “You might think they’re just a little warm when, in fact, they’re dangerously hot.”
2. A lack of sweat—or an abundance of it
When you spend a long time in extreme heat, the body stops trying to maintain its core internal temperature. So during traditional heat stroke (remember, that’s the kind that comes on gradually), you may actually stop sweating.
However, you’ll probably start sweating like crazy if you’re experiencing exertional heat stroke. “I’ll commonly hear people say, ‘I know it’s not heat stroke because they are still sweating and that’s not true,” Pryor explains. “With exertional heatstroke, many times we see the individual well before they’ve ‘cooked’ themselves and the body is still trying to thermoregulate [maintain its core internal temperature]. If anything, you’re actually going to see the individual sweating profusely.”
3. Confusion or trouble walking
Exertional heat stroke throws your central nervous symptoms out of whack, so a lack of coordination, confusion, aggression, or the inability to walk are huge red flags, says Pryor. “It’s kind of like a concussion where the lights are on, but nobody’s home,” he says. “They can’t answer questions appropriately, and that’s the first [signal] that we see.”
4. A pounding headache
A throbbing headache is common with heat stroke. This symptom is typically due to dehydration, or the overall impact heat stroke has on the central nervous system.
5. Dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
As you continue to sweat, your body will become increasingly dehydrated. The heat will start to affect various organs, all of which can exacerbate any of the symptoms on this list and can lead to dizziness, fainting, nausea, or vomiting.
6. Skin redness
In instances of both traditional and exertional heat stroke, when the body tries to cool itself down, it directs blood flow toward the skin, making it appear red. Your skin may also feel unusually clammy or exceptionally dry, depending on what type of heat stroke you’re experiencing.
7. Elevated heart rate or trouble breathing
Your heart is put under an immense amount of stress when you overheat. Why? It needs to pump harder and faster to make sure your body’s natural cooling systems are working to keep your temperature balanced. This could lead to trouble breathing or hyperventilating. (https://www.prevention.com/health/a20127296/heat-stroke-symptoms/)
If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, move them to a cooler place right away! If you can, put them in a tub of ice water. Get them to drink water, and dial 9-1-1! Heat stroke can be life threatening.
Please know that your pets can also experience heat stroke. Symptoms for dogs and cats include excessive panting, weakness, collapse, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drool, even seizures. For pets, and for people, it’s best to prevent heat stroke. Shade and hydration: Blossom Water for you, cool water for your pet.
*Our new Blossom Water makes it even easier to stay hydrated and healthy: amazing flavors, probiotics, low calorie, light weight bottles…
image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panting_(7631733734).jpg