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Heatstroke Prevention

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We were blessed with a beautiful Fourth of July in East Tennessee, but unfortunately much warmer weather is on the way. But no matter how hot it is, it’s just too nice around here to stay inside, right? That’s why I want to focus on the dangers of heatstroke.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke occur when your body cannot keep itself cool. As the air temps rise, your body stays cool when your sweat evaporates. However on very hot, humid days, sweat evaporation is slowed by the increased moisture in the air; and when sweating is not enough to cool your body, your body temperature rises and can cause you to become ill.

Heat exhaustion occurs when your body gets too hot. With it, you can experience heavy sweating, feeling weak or confused, dizziness or a fast heartbeat. If you think you have heat exhaustion, get out of the heat quickly. Find a building that is air conditioned. If you can’t get inside, find a cool, shady place. Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Do NOT drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks (such as soda). These can make heat exhaustion worse.

Heatstroke occurs when the internal temperature of the body reaches 104°F. It can happen when your body gets too hot during strenuous exercise or when exposed to very hot temperatures, or it can happen after heat exhaustion isn’t properly treated. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. Heatstroke can cause damage to your organs and brain. In extreme cases, it can kill you. Symptoms of heatstroke include a high fever, severe headache, nausea, vomiting and you stop sweating.

To prevent either of these, try to limit your time outdoors when temperatures are high. However, if you do go outside wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, use sunscreen, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER before you are spending time outside and while you are outside, and schedule outdoor activities before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Also take breaks from the sun and heat by moving indoors or finding a shady spot. When we are having fun outdoors, it is easy to ignore your body’s limits. But you need to listen to those limits and put your health first.

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