Stay cool – and safe – this summer

As the sun shines and temperatures soar throughout July, remember the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and how to prevent it.

The COVID-19 pandemic had most of us stuck indoors for much of the past few months, so it’s understandable that people are eager to participate in outdoors activities while social-distancing and following CDC, state and local guidelines.

Remember, wearing a mask is important as we try to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Wearing masks in the extreme heat also might be uncomfortable, so in some instances you might find it better to stay cool indoors.


What is heat stroke?

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and extended physical exertion under such conditions may result in the body overheating. The most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.

Heatstroke should be taken seriously. Quick action, including emergency treatment, is necessary. Untreated heatstroke may damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.


Watch for the signs

Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • High body temperature.A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer, is the main sign of heatstroke.
  • Altered mental state or behavior.Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
  • Alteration in sweating.In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
  • Nausea and vomiting.You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Flushed skin.Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing.Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate.Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Your head may throb.


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