Preventing Heatstroke

Participating in strenuous outdoor activities on a hot summer day can put you at risk of a heat-related illness. If you play sports or work outdoors you should take precautions to guard against heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Some tips to help you beat the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages.

  • Replenish depleted salt by drinking sports drinks or electrolyte fortified waters.

  • Plan outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the extreme midday heat.

  • Take frequent cooling breaks and don’t overexert yourself.

  • Wear a brimmed hat and lightweight clothing.

Heat exhaustion left untreated can lead to a heatstroke. The signs of heat exhaustion can be similar to that of the flu. If you are feeling overheated, clammy, or light headed, are sweating heavily, and your heart is racing, you may be experiencing heat exhaustion. To relieve heat exhaustion, you should get out of the heat, rehydrate, and lower your body temperature as soon as possible. Ignoring the signs of heat exhaustion can lead to a more serious and possibly fatal heatstroke!

Indications of a heatstroke include:

  • Body temperature that exceeds 103֯

  • Disorientation, dizziness, or loss of consciousness

  • Hot, flushed, dry skin

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Heavy perspiration

  • Rapid, strong heart rate

  • Headache

If you think someone may be having a heatstroke immediately move them out of the heat, cool them down by whatever means available, and call 911! Immerse them in cool water, or douse them with a garden hose for a quick cool down. Place ice packs around the person’s neck, armpits, and groin until help arrives.

Promote heat safety throughout the summer on your social media outlets. Provide your home care nurses and health care aides with access to hydration throughout the day.

Partner with TAG! Your source for patient educational materials.

Summer is near. Let's focus on heat safety!

June 20 marks the Summer Solstice. Take advantage of the opportunity presented by the longest day of the year and the first day of summer to educate potential clients about sun safety and heat-related illnesses.

People age 65 and older are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses because they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Becoming a community advocate for senior heat safety is easy. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Visit the CDC’s Extreme Heat Media Toolkit page to download and print copies of their informative brochure. Be sure to visit their page on Heat and the Elderly for more great tips. The Arizona Department of Health Services has another great toolkit focusing on heat safety and older adults.
  • Contact your local Area Agency on Aging and become an active participant in your community’s summer fan drive to help cool needy seniors and other vulnerable residents. Volunteer to spread the word about the effort and help collect the fans. If there’s no fan drive in your community, partner with your local fire department and collect fans to donate to seniors in your area.
  • Contact a local senior center and offer to host a class on heat safety and heart health — heart disease was the underlying cause of death in nearly 60 percent of heat-related deaths between 1999 and 2003. Distribute branded paper or battery-operated fans to attendees, and have plenty of cool, refreshing drinks on hand. Contact TAG Partners at 866-232-6477 for information about branded fans, cups, and other promotional products.
  • Contact your local newspaper and offer to write a guest editorial about summer heat safety for seniors. Simply write a letter to the editor expressing the same sentiment in short form if your guest editorial offer is declined.
  • Contact your local news stations, newspaper offices and radio stations and volunteer to connect them with a clinician who can speak about heat safety and the elderly or disabled for stories they may be working on about summertime heat.
  • Another danger of the summer sun is the sun’s damaging rays. Contact your local minor league ballpark concessions and co-sponsor (with a local dermatologist) an informational booth during the ball game about the importance of skin health and guarding against overexposure. Distribute small bottles of sunscreen or lip balm at event – contact TAG partners for more details on available options.