Even with fall just around the corner, heat-related illnesses still pose a serious risk. Although heat stroke (also known as sunstroke) may feel like a fever, the two are very different. A fever is a response from the body, heat stroke however is caused by external heat exposure, raising the body’s temperature above 105.1°F (40.6°C). This can cause the body to lose the ability to cool itself and overheat; a dangerous and even life-threatening condition.
Some symptoms such as high temperatures, dry skin, and fatigue are common and expected with exposure to extreme heat, so the potential for heat stroke can be easily dismissed. Knowing what to look for can be life saving.
Signs and symptoms:
- High temperature
- Profuse sweating that abruptly stops
- Accelerated (weak) heartbeat.
- Hyperventilation – rapid breathing, shallow panting
- Muscle cramps
- Skin becomes hot, dry and red
- Dark urine
- Coordination problems
- Seizures (fits)
- Vertigo, dizziness, light-headedness
- Irrational behavior
- Loss of consciousness
Seniors are at greater risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so take extra care to ensure their health and safety during the summer months. Staying hydrated and limiting outdoor activities to mornings and evening are a couple of simple ways to stay sun safe.