Summer Temps, Dehydration Can Cause Heat Stroke

Leonardtown, Md. — Summer can bring more than heat and humidity, especially if you’re outside for extended periods or if being active. Then, it can also deliver heat-related illnesses.One of the most serious heat-related ailments is heat stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability…

July 1, 2014

Leonardtown, Md. — Summer can bring more than heat and humidity, especially if you’re outside for extended periods or if being active. Then, it can also deliver heat-related illnesses.

One of the most serious heat-related ailments is heat stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Heat stroke, also referred to as sunstroke, is most likely to occur when the body is no longer able to control its temperature. What happens is the body’s temperature rises rapidly and the body’s sweating mechanism fails, meaning the body can no longer cool down. Dehydration is also a factor because someone who is dehydrated may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, causing the body temperature to rise. Infants, the elderly, athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke.

There are various reasons why the body may not cool down but one of the most common is humidity. High humidity doesn’t allow sweat to evaporate quickly enough and this deters the body from releasing heat. As a result, body temperature may rise to 106°F and up in less than 15 minutes.

It is a good idea to know some of the warning signs of heat stroke. These may include:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

A critical step in the treatment of heat stroke is cooling the victim. Also, always notify emergency services immediately if heat stroke is suspected. If you think that someone has heat stroke, you should call 911 immediately and render first aid until paramedics arrive.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Md. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is a seven time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

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