Back to home June 2012
Health & Wellness
Enjoy the Sun, But Avoid Heat Stroke This Summer
"Heat stroke is a medical emergency," says Sal Lacagnina, D.O., Lee Memorial Health System vice president of health & wellness. "Knowing the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, calling 911 immediately, and helping to cool the body can help a person avoid serious complications."
Dr. Lacagnina shares the following signs and symptoms of heat stroke:
- Rapid heart beat
- Muscle cramps
- Generalized weakness
"A person experiencing heat stroke can also exhibit strange behaviors," Dr. Lacagnina explains. "They can become disoriented, confused and combative; they can hallucinate or even experience seizures. If someone you are with exhibits signs or symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 immediately."
In the meantime, while waiting for emergency care, Dr. Lacagnina advises lying the person down in the shade, cooling them with wet towels, fanning them, taking off any warm clothing and placing ice packs under their armpits. If the person is fully conscious, have them drink cool liquids.
"Preventing heat stroke is most important," Dr. Lacagnina says. "Avoid dehydration and vigorous outdoor exercise when the temperatures are high. It's also important to realize that infants, the elderly and those with medical problems—like heart and kidney disease—are most susceptible to heat stroke. Athletes and those who work outdoors are also at risk."
Stay hydrated, take breaks from the sun and always wear sunscreen—this will help ensure you have a healthy and enjoyable summer.
Dr. Lacagnina also reminds you not to leave an infant, child, elderly person or pet in a car with the windows closed or cracked. Temperatures in cars rise quickly and can cause heat stroke.
Salvatore Lacagnina, D.O.
Vice President of Health & Wellness
Lee Memorial Health System