Q: I work outside, and the summer’s heat hasn’t even hit full strength yet. I am concerned I could suffer a heat stroke if it gets any hotter. What are the warning signs?
A: You are right to be concerned. While a few hot days might not seem like a big deal, it can have severe consequences if you’re not aware of the symptoms of excess heat exposure. When the temperature rises, so does the risk of experiencing a heat stroke.
The levels of heat-related illnesses that lead to heat stroke can range from heat rash, to sunburn, followed by heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and finally, if your body temperature reaches 103 degree or higher, a heat stroke. If you start to experience rash, sunburn, dizziness, muscle cramping, racing heartbeat, headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, or fainting, stop what you are doing a move to a cool place. Drink water, and wait for the symptoms to go away before going back out into the heat. If you think someone is having a heat stroke, call 911 right away. If it is safe, move the person to a cooler place and try to lower their temperature with cold cloths or ice water. It is important not to try to give someone having a heat stroke anything to drink.
If you experience any health-related issues this summer, call Accordia Health at (251) 824-8320. We would love to take care of you and your loved ones.
Ashlen Aggen, M.D., is a family medicine physician and a graduate of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. During her residency, Aggen showed leadership initiative in spearheading the introduction of the Patient Advisory Board on Clinic Policy program and Reach Out and Read, both of which are aimed at providing the best care and opportunities for patients. She was also chosen as the Chief Resident and received the Program Director’s Award, which is given to the graduating resident who exhibits qualities of exemplary patient care, demonstrates leadership, displays a commitment to the community, contributes to scholarly activity and is dedicated to the specialty of family medicine.