HEAT SAFETY: Know the symptoms of heat stroke

Published: Jun. 27, 2018 at 8:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2018 at 9:58 PM CDT
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On average, heat kills more people than tornadoes and hurricanes each year, according to the National Weather Service.

With the hottest time of year quickly approaching, here are some tips to beat the heat:

  • Wear lightweight clothing
  • Wear light-colored clothing
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Only work outside during the early morning and late evening
  • Stay hydrated

Anyone who is going to be working or spending a lot of time outside should make sure to drink plenty of water and stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.

"Both alcohol and caffeinated beverages, including things like coffee, tea and sodas, they all act as diuretics. They tend to deplete the body of water," Dr. Ashley Sommerhalder said. "So you will notice yourself urinating a lot more. And with that, you will be losing a lot of water.

"In addition, the alcohol alters your awareness," the doctor continued. "So you may not be recognizing the symptoms of heat stroke in yourself or with other people you are with."

Beating the sizzling summer heat goes way beyond drinking water and picking out white shirts.

It also includes knowing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

Among symptoms of heat stroke, one of the most dangerous heat-related illnesses, are:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Stop sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot and dry skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps

If someone is experiencing these symptoms, Sommerhalder said, they should immediately stop what they are doing and find a cooler place.

"The most important thing to do is to get the body to cool down. So moving them inside an air-conditioned environment or a cooler environment, getting the clothes and excessive layers off of them, and getting water on them."

Sommerhalder also recommends putting ice packs under their arms and groin area because the body stores a lot of heat at those sites.

Speaking of heat, afternoon high temperatures through the weekend will be upper 90s to near 100 degrees, with maximum heat index values much closer to 105 degrees.

So it's not going to be a good idea to overdo it outside in the heat of the day.

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