Feeling hot? Sit in the shade and follow these tips to avoid heat stroke.

After a long winter and cool spring, summer is finally here! It’s time to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with loved ones. Let’s be honest – summers in Memphis can get very hot. To safely enjoy your summer activities, it is important to understand the risks of heat exposure.

Getting some vitamin D can benefit your overall health, but too much sun can be detrimental and can lead to further illness like heat stroke. It’s important to know the signs of heat stroke and heat-related illnesses. Understanding when you have had too much sun and heat exposure can help keep you safe and healthy during your summer.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness. It occurs when your body’s temperature regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat. It can be life threatening and requires immediate medical care.

What to look for:

  • Body temperature of 103 degrees or higher.
  • Hot, red, damp or dry skin. 
  • A fast, strong pulse.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness. 
  • Nausea or vomiting. 
  • Confusion. 
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Lethargy.

What to do:

If someone is showing signs of heat stroke, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Move the person to a cooler place.
  • Help lower body temperature by using cool cloths or putting them in a cool bath.
  • Remove excess clothes and fan the person.
  • Place ice packs on the armpit and groin areas.
  • Do NOT give the person anything to drink if they are unconscious or lethargic.

*Call 911 or local medical services immediately if the person is unconscious or showing severe symptoms*

Ways to prevent heat stroke:

The best way to avoid heat related illnesses is to take precautions to prevent overexposure. If you’re planning to spend a long period of time outdoors, be safe and do the following: 

  • Drink plenty of clear liquids. 
    • Avoid fluids with caffeine, as this can lead to further dehydration.
  • Do NOT leave children alone in the car, even with windows cracked open.
  • Dress in loose fitting and lightweight clothing.
  • Take rest breaks in shady areas when participating in sports or vigorous exercise.
  • Wear sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen to avoid sun damage.

Heat stroke can be easily prevented by following these precautions and knowing the early signs of heat related illnesses. Below are some resources to learn more about heat stroke:

  1. CDC Warning Signs and Symptoms 
  2. Children and Teen Information: University of Rochester Medical Center- Heat Related illness

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