Heat stroke real threat in summer

Published 2:07 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The dog days of summer have arrived.

Rising temperatures and oppressive humidity are both signs that we are, yet again, stuck in a stereotypical Alabama summer.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, if you’re caught for too long out in the heat, you may be in trouble. With the hot weather comes an increased risk of heat stroke.

Heat strokes occur when the body is unable to regulate temperature. Body temperatures rise rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperatures can rise as high as 106 degrees within a matter of minutes. If the victim fails to be cooled, it can result in permanent damage and even death.

The ADPH lists several preventative measures to prevent heat strokes from happening, including drinking more water and other liquids that do not contain alcohol or caffeine, staying in an air conditioned room indoors during the hottest part of the day and wearing sunscreen and the proper clothing.

If a person displays the warning signs of having a heat stroke, such as an extremely high body temperature; red, hot, dry skin with no sweating; a rapid, strong pulse and throbbing headache, they should be cooled immediately. If outdoors, get the victim to shade. If possible, get the person to a tub and submerge in cool water, or shower with cool water until body temperature drops to below 102 degrees.

For more information on heat strokes and how to combat and prevent them, log on to www.adph.org.