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For those of us living in Phoenix and surrounding areas, we acknowledge that it’s important to be aware of the sun. It can be hot and if we are not careful can even lead to sunstroke!
What is Sunstroke?
Sunstroke, also known as heat stroke, occurs when your body becomes so hot that it can start to cause bodily damage. Technically sunstroke is defined by a body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) and is considered the most extreme degree of hyperthermia. While hypothermia occurs when the body becomes too cold, hyperthermia occurs when the body becomes so hot that it leads to serious health outcomes which can become so extreme and lead to brain damage, organ failure, or death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that above-average temperatures or extremely humid weather are the cause of death for overkills more than 600 people in the United States annually!
Sunstroke is a serious issue and knowing the early signs can help you from letting it become worse. As summer temperatures rise, it is important to know how to avoid heat-related illnesses. If not detected early, heatstroke can lead to damage to the circulatory system, lungs, liver, kidney, digestive tract, muscles, nervous system, and even the brain.
Heat Exhaustion and Rehydration
Often sunstroke begins with heat exhaustion. While heat exhaustion is less serious than heat stroke it’s an important early warning sign to mark. If you suspect that you or someone you are spending time with is experiencing heat exhaustion, it’s important to rest and rehydrate by drinking plenty of water. Many may find that adding electrolytes into their fluids helps the body reabsorb water faster. Electrolytes are essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, and potassium—that are vital to many key functions in the body. Electrolytes regulate and control the balance of fluids in the body as well as play a vital role in regulating blood pressure, and muscle contraction, and keeping your system functioning properly. Electrolytes are very present in watermelon, citrus, and coconut water, but can even be found in vegetables such as broccoli and potatoes and many nuts and seeds.
Symptoms of Heatstroke
Heatstroke often begins with early symptoms of heat exhaustion. If not acted on immediately it can be life-threatening, causing symptoms to worsen. Common signs of heat stroke include:
- A body temperature of 104ºF or higher
- hot, dry skin
- an increased heartbeat
- slurred speech
- loss of consciousness
Exertional and Non-Exertional Heatstroke
There are two different types of heatstroke:
Non-exertional heatstroke occurs in those who cannot adapt well to increasingly hot temperatures. This often occurs when individuals are inside and not active. It can occur over several days and is common during extreme heatwaves.
Exertional heat stroke occurs in people whose bodies can no longer adapt to rising temperatures while being active. This often occurs in people who are spending time outside while exercising or working and can develop within a few hours. The CDC cautions that spending time in closed cars puts adults, children, and pets at high risk of heatstroke. The CDC reports that when the temperature outdoors is 80ºF, the temperature inside a closed car rises to 109 degrees in 20 minutes.
Tips To Avoid Heatstroke
Stay hydrated: It is recommended that you drink around two liters of lquid per day full of electrolytes. Avoid alcohol and caffeine which increase the risk of dehydration.
Dress to stay cool: Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing as well as a wide brimmed sun hat.
Keep your living area cool: open your window at night and close your curtains during the day. Use a fan in your home to keep the air moving or enjoy your air conditioner.
Don’t overexert yourself: Don’t exercise or work too hard when the temperatures outside are especially hot, but if you can avoid it, make sure to stay hydrated.
Limit your exposure to heat and sun: During a heat wave, stay out of the sun, especially through the hottest hours of the day, between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you want to enjoy the heat, do it in the shade!
Enjoy a cooler home and patio with CC Sunscreen window shades and patio shades. They block out 90% of UV rays and can protect you from heat exhaustion and sunstroke. Call today for a free consultation!