Preventing Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion

Sometimes, too much of this hot Florida weather can really wear you out–and it can even be life-threatening. Being active in hot temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion, and a more severe illness known as heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion can occur when someone is exercising or being active in hot weather and the body cannot cool down fast enough through its normal process of sweating. Heat exhaustion can sometimes progress into a more serious illness when the body reaches a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and an individual may experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, confusion, rapid pulse and even seizures. The elderly and children are at a higher risk of heat exhaustion an heat stroke.

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • If possible, avoid spending long periods of times in high temperatures
  • Avoid exercising during the hottest hours of the day, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, including water and sports drinks that contain salt and sugar, before, during and after outdoor activity
  • Take breaks indoors or in the shade as often as possible
  • During extremely hot days or heat waves, keep elderly adults and children indoors in air conditioning
  • Never leave anyone inside a parked, closed vehicle
  • Wear clothing that is lightweight and loose-fitting
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cut back on sun exposure
  • If someone appears to be experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, move them to cool, shaded area or indoors, give them adequate fluids and encourage them to rest. Be sure to contact a healthcare professional immediately or call 9-1-1.

To learn more about the symptoms, treatment and prevention of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, visit our health library online. For answers to your healthcare questions and free physician referrals, call our Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.

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