Summer High Temps Raise Danger of Overheating, ‘Stroke’ During Recreation
By Space Coast Daily // July 19, 2022
heat exhaustion is not to be taken lightly
The sudden deaths of former NFL running back Marion Barber III and a 3-year-old boy in Miami serve as reminders that heat exhaustion is not to be taken lightly.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – With heat indexes climbing well above 100 degrees, Florida is a summertime vacation destination that comes with a mild warning – too much fun in the sun can be harmful to your health.
Health First cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell warns us to be mindful of our internal thermometer when spending the day outdoors.
“Heat stroke occurs when our bodies get a core temperature over 104 degrees and we can’t adequately cool ourselves,” says Dr. Campbell.
Heat stroke may occur when heat exhaustion goes unheeded. Heat exhaustion sets in when a body is under-hydrated, either for lack of water or output of sweat or both. Symptoms include fatigue and light-headedness, muscle cramping, even nausea – but heat exhaustion “is the early stages of developing a core temperature that’s just too hot.”
Heat stroke is marked by a wholesale inability to regulate internal body temperature. The body ceases sweating.
Immediate medical intervention is needed following the onset of that, along with any of these serious symptoms:
■ Rapid heart rate
■ Nausea leading to vomiting
■ Loss of consciousness
“You may see a rapid heart rate. You may actually have confusion, you may have seizures … and then, ultimately, we see patients who have cardiac arrest,” Dr. Campbell says.
Heat stroke demands medical intervention, but it’s heat exhaustion that should be spotted and addressed, Dr. Campbell advises.
“If you have heat exhaustion, you are cognizant enough to know you need to get out of the heat.”
The CDC has identified those at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses as infants and children up to age 4, and people 65 years of age and older. People who are overweight are more susceptible to overheating, as are people who are ill or on certain medications.
Parents Should Be Vigilant
Parents especially should be vigilant and intervene on their child’s behalf once any symptom of overheating is spotted.
“You really have to look out for the young kids,” Dr. Campbell stresses, “because they really may be having a good time, not realize they’re overheated, and then it can come on very, very quickly.”
Dr. Campbell provides the following tips to help prevent heat exhaustion before and during work, a workout or play.
■ Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
■ Take frequent breaks.
■ Try to find shade cover as much as possible.
■ For athletes and coaches, choose to practice early in the morning or late in the day.
■ Pre-hydrate the night before and the morning before.
In the event someone is showing signs of severe overheating and heat stroke, call 9-1-1.
The following are tips for bringing core temperature back into bounds on-site:
■ Get the person to a cooler area or bring them inside.
■ Remove any excess clothing.
■ Place cold towels around their neck and under their armpits.
■ If available, place them in a bathtub with ice cubes and cold water.
Visit HF.org/news_and_events to find out what’s happening at Health First.