Heat stroke is most likely to affect older people who live in apartments or homes lacking air conditioning or good airflow. Other high-risk groups include people of any age who don’t drink enough water, have chronic diseases, or who drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit
- Throbbing headache
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Lack of sweating despite the heat
- Red, hot, and dry skin
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat; strong or weak
- Confusion, disorientation, or staggering
If you suspect that someone has a heat stroke, call 911 immediately, and initiate first aid to the patient.
- Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or cloth
- Apply ice packs to the patient’s armpits, groin, neck and back. These are areas with a large amount of blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them can reduce body temperature.
- Give patient a cold shower or place the patient in a cool tub of water.
To lower the risk of heat strokes during the warm months, stay in an air-conditioned environment. If you must go outdoors, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat. Use sunscreen, and drink plenty of extra fluids.