Combatting Heatstroke

The heightened heat season is typically between May and October each year. This year, extremely high temperatures are being recorded and the Ministry of Health in a recent release reminded the public that excessive heat stress is harmful to health and is potentially fatal.

Heat Stroke known also as Sun Stroke is a severe heat illness resulting in persons experiencing a body temperature greater than 104 degrees fahrenheit.

Symptoms of the illness include red, dry or damp skin, headache, dizziness. Complications may include seizures, kidney failure and rhabdomyolysis.

Before the illness occurs persons will show signs of heat exhaustion such as dizziness, mental confusion, weakness and headaches. If heatstroke occurs when the person is asleep the symptoms will be harder to notice in exertional heatstroke the affected individual will perspire excessively. Young children may have seizures eventually, unconsciousness, organ failure and will result in death.

Take these steps to prevent heatstroke during hot weather:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing to allow your body to cool properly.
  • Protect against sunburn. protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
  • Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes.

    It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.

  • Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.

  • Get acclimated People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.


Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure.

If you think a person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek medical help.

Your health and the health of loved ones…is your responsibility!

Juliane Robinson

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