With the advent of summer the possibility of suffering from heat stroke increases. Over exertion in hot, humid weather when not staying properly hydrated can lead to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.

Heat stroke is a kind of hyperthermia, when the body temperature becomes elevated. This happens when the body is not able to regulate its temperature properly, either because the cooling mechanism of evaporation of sweat is hampered, due to extreme heat and humidity causing the body temperature to rise dangerously, sometimes to as much as 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another contributing factor to heat stroke is dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when exercising or otherwise exerting yourself outside on hot, humid days.

Some signs and symptoms of heat stroke are:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Fatigue
• Dizziness
• Weakness
• Headache
• Muscle Cramps

Sometimes individuals can get heat stroke without warning and without showing signs in advance.

Other things to look for in someone who you suspect may have heat stroke:

• high body temperature
• the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin
• rapid pulse
• difficulty breathing
• strange behavior
• hallucinations
• confusion
• agitation
• disorientation
• seizure
• coma

Heatstroke is a true medical emergency, and should be dealt with immediately. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke do the following:

• Take steps to cool the victim: Take him into the shade, take off clothing, place cool or lukewarm water on the skin, you can use a garden hose to gently spray the victim, fan the sufferer to encourage evaporation, and place ice into the armpits and on the groin.
• Encourage the intake of cool liquids such as water or other drinks which do not contain caffeine or alcohol.
• Observe body temperature and continue the cooling steps until the temperature drops down to 101 or 102 Fahrenheit. (38.3 – 38.8 Celsius)
• Call 911 as soon as the heat stroke is detected. If they will be delayed they can help you with instructions for how to help the victim further.

Emergency room doctors such as Josyann Abisaab, MD see many victims of heat stroke all summer long. Keep cool, drink a lot, and you will hopefully be able to avoid such an emergency.