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Heatstroke – Prevention and Response

Photo: Man in shorts and a T-shirt walking in a desertMinimize the Risk of Heatstroke

It’s summer and you want to be outside. But it’s also pretty hot. As studies show a gradual rise over the last decade in the number of people suffering serious injury from heatstroke or heat exhaustion, you want to take appropriate precautions to protect you and your loved ones. Here are simple steps to follow to minimize your risk.

  • Always apply sunscreen – If you are going to participate in an outdoor activity, whether you are swimming, picnicking or playing tennis. A sunburn makes it more difficult for your body to cool down, so take appropriate steps to prevent overexposure to the sun. A sunscreen with a minimum SPF rating of 15 is recommended.
  • Make certain you are properly hydrated – Your body needs to sweat to help maintain a healthy body temperature. If you don’t take in enough liquids, your body will not be able to produce enough sweat.
  • Avoid tight clothes and don’t overdress – Loose clothing allows your body to cool more effectively. Too much clothing can cause you to overheat.
  • Pay attention to any medications you are taking – Some medications can limit your body’s ability to retain water and cool down.
  • Build up your tolerance — If you are visiting an area with warmer temperatures, gradually acclimate to the increased heat.

The Most Effective Response to Heatstroke or Heat Exhaustion

If you or someone you love has overdone it in the hot weather, the first thing you want to do is cool the person down. A cold shower, bath or ice water can quickly lower body temperature. A preferred method of doing this may be to spray a mist of cold water on the person while fanning warm air on them. This causes the moisture to evaporate, which cools the skin. Ice packs can be applied to armpits, back and groin to quickly lower temperatures, and the victim can also ingest ice chips.

You need to be careful, though, that the person suffering from heatstroke doesn’t start to shiver. Shivering is a natural bodily reaction that is designed to increase body temperature, so it becomes counterproductive. There are medications that can be prescribed (muscle relaxants) that reduce the shiver impulse.

Come to Hillcrest Medical in Dallas, Texas

The best place in Dallas for urgent care is Hillcrest Medical. Many of our patients also choose to make our doctor their primary care physician. Come and check out our facility and meet our doctor and staff. We’re here to help you now, and we’re here for all your future urgent care needs.

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