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How To Avoid A Heat Stroke

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0
Summer Sun

In most places in the summertime, the temperature and humidity rise dramatically. This can cause a whole series of illnesses for you and your pet.

I'm writing this Hub because I did something very dumb today.

Three of my roommates' kids and I went hunting for wild strawberries in the field near our home. We went a little further than we usually do, because we had exhausted all of the berry patches closer to the house. We've had a lot of fun doing this lately, and knew that we'd better get as many of those little strawberries as we could before they started going bad. So, we grabbed our hats, sunglasses and my trusty walking stick and headed out.

This was dumb on so many levels:

  1. It was hot today. Almost 90° .
  2. It was 4:30-5:00 PM, the hottest part of the day.
  3. We were walking through an open field with no shade.
  4. We went too far from the house.
  5. We didn't take any water with us.

And I had a small heat stroke.

Heat Stroke Warning Signs

About halfway through our journey, I got very weak. I decided to ignore it.(Dumb.) A few minutes later, I could not bend over to pick a berry without standing up and feeling dizzy. I ignored it, too. (Dumb.) I started to sweat profusely. I ignored it. (Dumb.) Finally I got to the point where all I wanted to do was sit down, because standing upright was making my head swim. We headed back to the house. What should have been a five minute walk back took me almost fifteen because I had to stop every few feet and squat or bend over because I thought I was going to faint. And here I was with three little kids, none older than ten. What were they going to do if I passed out?

I did make it back to the house and got cooled off. Then I started to think about what could have just happened to me, and the fact that I had potentially put the kids in danger.

I should have, and do, know better.

Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion?

Heat Related Illnesses

Heat Related Illnesses

Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, is when the body temperature rises dramatically in a short amount of time. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness and possibly death. These symptoms can also mimic a heart attack.

Heat cramps can occur when someone is physically active in very warm weather and are associated with involuntary contractions in the muscles that are being exerted.

Heat exhaustion happens when the body loses its ability to cool itself. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, headache, weakness and cramps.

So. How can you protect yourself? Well, the one thing that all of these things have is common is heat. So stay out of it if you don't have to go out in it! The very old, the very young, people with asthma and overweight people, among others, are more susceptible to these illnesses.

HatFloppy

How To Avoid A Heat Stroke

So. How can you protect yourself? Well, the one thing that all of these things have is common is heat. So stay out of it if you don't have to go out in it! The very old, the very young, people with asthma and overweight people, among others, are more susceptible to these illnesses.

If you must go out in it, though, here are some suggestions:

  • If it's at all possible, stay out of direct sunlight. Stick to the shady spots.
  • If you have to walk out in the heat, walk slowly and rest often.
  • Hydrate! Water is the best thing in the world to beat the heat, just make sure it isn't super cold and sip it sparingly to avoid stomach cramps. Absolutely no alcohol or caffeine - they will both cause you to dehydrate!
  • Wear light colored, and loose clothing - they reflect sunlight and allow for your skin to breathe.
  • Make sure to wear a hat to keep direct sunlight off of your head and face.
  • Take breaks often, preferably somewhere cool or shady.

If someone you know is the victim of any of these illnesses, there are a few things you can do:

  • Get them to a shady spot, pronto!
  • Get them some cool (not cold) water, Gatorade or Powerade to help them replenish their liquids. Have them sip it instead of gulping.
  • Get any extra clothing off of them. Remove hats, especially, because heat does escape through the tops of our heads.
  • If you have access to ice packs, place them in the armpits and groin. This will bring down their temperature quickly.
  • If their symptoms are severe, call emergency services immediately. They will be able to guide you through helping them along until an ambulance arrives.
PugDog

Heat and Your Pets

You pet can be just as susceptible to heat related illnesses as you are, it not more so. They do not sweat like we do, so it is difficult for them to keep their temperatures down.

The ASPCA has several tips to keep your pet safe during extremely hot weather:

  • Keep your pet in a shady area.
  • Make sure they have plenty of water to drink.
  • Never leave your pet in a vehicle unattended during very warm weather. Even with a window cracked, the temperature can rise dramatically in a short period of time.
  • Keep your pet off of hot asphalt. It can burn the pads on their feet.

If your pet has been exposed to high heat and is having difficulty breathing, is drooling excessively, seems weak, acts dizzy or drunk or collapses, call your vet immediately. The website also states that animals with flat faces (especially Pug dogs and Persian cats) cannot pant as well as other animals and should be kept out of excessive heat.

 

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