Heat stroke: summer danger - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Heat stroke: summer danger

Last summer, the greater Savannah area broke many heat records with over two consecutive months of 90+ degree days.  The current season isn’t expected to be any cooler.  Anyone who goes outside for a prolonged period of time needs to know the dangers of heat stroke, what can be done to prevent it, and steps to take should they suspect someone is suffering from it.

Danger of Heat Stroke:  Heat Stroke should not be confused with heat exhaustion, which is simply a precursory symptom leading to heat stroke.  Technical heat stroke occurs when a person’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees.  At this level, the heat begins to damage the brain and other internal organs; it can cause death.  Individuals particularly vulnerable to heat stroke include children under 4 and adults over 65. Young athletes who participate in strenuous activity on hot days are also at a greater risk for heat stroke. It goes without saying that people with preexisting conditions and weakened immune systems or those taking certain medications should take extra precautions to avoid heat stroke.  If you are concerned that your medications may put you at elevated risk, consult a pharmacist.  

Initial symptoms leading to heat stroke may include:

  • Heat Cramps
  • Fainting and / or exhaustion (heat exhaustion)
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Skin that is hot and dry to the touch

If you think someone is experiencing heatstroke, call 911 immediately or take them to the emergency room.  If you call emergency responders, take the following action while you wait:

  • Get them out of the sun, preferably to an indoor location
  • Put them in a cool shower or cool bath. DO NOT use ice
  • Apply cool packs to armpits, groin, neck and back. These areas are rich with blood vessels, and cooling them down is an efficient way to cool the body faster

To help prevent heat stroke from happening, follow these protocols:

  • Hydrate often and a lot.  Drink 24 ounces of water two hours prior to exercise
  • Drink 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes while outside in the heat
  • Wear lightweight clothing in light colors
  • Wear a hat (preferably wide-brimmed)
  • Limit outdoor activities to early morning hours and after sunset.

Richmond Hill Pharmacy offers one-stop shopping for your summer safety needs.  If you have questions about medications or conditions that may make you vulnerable to heat stroke, our pharmacists are happy speak with you.

Richmond Hill Pharmacy: 912-756-3331. Pharmacy hours are 8:30 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays; 9:00 am – 6:00 pm on Saturday; and 12:30 – 5:00 pm on Sunday.

Hinesville Pharmacy: 912-876-8125. Pharmacy hours are 9:00 am – 6:30 pm on weekdays; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm on Saturday; and closed on Sunday.

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