Texas experiences extreme swings in temperature throughout the year, going from an average of highs in the 90s during the summer to lows near the freezing mark in winter. During these extreme temperature highs, it is important for the residents of Texas to take precautions to prevent heatstroke-related injury or death.
Children, the elderly, and people with certain diseases like heart or kidney disease are particularly susceptible to developing heat stroke.
Be alert to the following signs and symptoms of heat stroke, learn how to prevent it, and know what to do if it happens.
What is heat stroke?
Heat stroke occurs when the body’s natural temperature-regulating mechanisms fail under excessive heat and the person is also dehydrated. Fever, unconsciousness, and death can result. Heat stroke is the most serious of heat-related injuries.
People exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time, like the homeless or those living in places without air conditioning, are at high-risk for heat stroke during a heat wave.
Symptoms of heat stroke:
- Fever of 103 degrees or higher
- Fast, pounding pulse
- Hot, red, dry, or sometimes damp skin
Heat stroke is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. From 2003 – 2008, over 250 people in Texas died of heat stroke.
What to do:
If someone is unconscious from a suspected heat stroke, take him or her to your local Clear Lake ER. If they are not breathing, perform CPR.
Do not leave the person alone or exposed to the heat. They can pass out and die if their temperature is not lowered. After calling for help, move the person to a cooler location.
Since their natural temperature-regulating mechanisms have failed, they will need help lowering it through artificial means.
Wrap them in cool, damp sheets. Place ice packs or cold, wet towels under the person’s armpit, neck, and groin. If possible, fan them while misting them with cool water.
If the person is still conscious, try to get them to sip cool water – no caffeinated beverages or sugary drinks. This can make the heat stroke worse.
With proper medical care, heatstroke can be treated and the person can make a full recovery.