High temperatures during the summer can lead to heatstroke – a very serious condition and medical emergency. It can occur gradually or happen suddenly, even if you have no other signs of heat-related injury.
Symptoms of Heatstroke
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and disorientation
- Lack of sweating despite the heat
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing
- Muscle weakness and cramping
Heatstroke occurs when your body temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher. When your body overheats, the first symptom is usually cramping. If you start to experience nausea and lightheadedness and feel like you might pass out, seek emergency care immediately or call 9-1-1. Left untreated, heatstroke can damage your brain, heart and kidneys and even cause death.
In the emergency department, the doctor’s main goal is to cool your body. He or she may do this by packing you in ice and a special cooling blanket, bathing you in cold water or misting cool water on your face.
How to Avoid Heatstroke
Whether at work or play, you should always keep a bottle of water close at hand during warm weather. Water will help your body sweat and maintain a normal temperature, which is important for avoiding heatstroke.