How to recognize and treat heat exhaustion, stroke

Local News

Via American Red Cross

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – With temperatures of what could feel like up to 115 degrees expected over the weekend, the danger of overheating is high.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that some people are more prone to heat-related illnesses, including people ages 65 and up, people with chronic medical conditions, people who are overweight, people who work outside, infants, children, and athletes.

To stay safe, the American Red Cross recommends the following:

  • Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine or alcohol
  • Stay in an air-conditioned area — check on family and friends without air conditioning
  • Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day
  • Postpone outdoor games or activities
  • If working outside, use a buddy system and take frequent breaks
  • Check on animals frequently. Make sure they have shade and cool water
  • Never leave children or pets in parked cars
  • Take a cool shower or bath

Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and how to respond, can save a life.

Someone suffering from heat exhaustion might experience cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; or exhaustion, according to the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross suggests doing the following if someone you know is experiencing heat exhaustion: “spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths to the skin. If the person is conscious, provide small amounts of cool water to drink slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.”

Signs of a heat stroke include hot, red skin (dry or moist), changes in consciousness, vomiting, and high body temperature.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately, move to a cooler place, and use cold water, cold/wet towels, or bags of ice to bring the body temperature down.

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