HEAT STROKE– is generally defined as the inability of the body to cool down after physical activity. Persons most at risk for heat stroke include the very young child, elderly, persons who work outdoors in the heat, and persons who exercise in the heat of the day. Obesity can increase the risk of heat stroke. Persons who take certain medications, such as diuretics, blood pressure pills and diet pills are also at higher risk.        

The symptoms of heat stroke include: chills, weakness, dizziness, extreme muscle fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, confusion and absence of sweating. If you feel these symptoms, stop activity immediately, drink water, rest in a cool place, and seek medical attention immediately if the symptoms persist. If left untreated, heat stroke can lead to damage to the kidneys, and other organs. True heat stroke is a medical emergency and treatment (call 911) should be sought immediately.        

 Take these precautions to help prevent heat stroke:

  • Drink at least 8-12 ounces of water- both before and after exercise. Take a full water bottle with you when you exercise, so it is readily available.
  • Drink electrolyte solution before and after extreme/strenuous exercise
  • Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol
  • Wear light colored, loose clothing. Wear clothing appropriate to the temperature
  • Wear clothing with SPF >20
  • Stay out of direct sunlight if possible. If you feel yourself becoming too hot, rest in the shade and drink water
  • If possible, exercise early in the morning or late in the evening- avoid the heat of the afternoon.
  • Humidity decreases the ability of the body to cool down- exercise indoors during high humid times.
  • Do not participate in sports or exercise if you have a fever or upper respiratory infection
  • Remove helmet/padding and any excess clothing immediately if symptoms of heat exhaustion are noted
  • NEVER leave a child or pet in a hot car for any length of time– this can be life-threatening