SunstrokeDescription, Causes and Risk Factors:Sunstroke is the most dangerous of the heat-related illnesses. If not treated immediately, it can be fatal. The exact cause of sunstroke is not clear, and unlike heat exhaustion, it strikes suddenly and with little warning.The body normally generates heat as a result of metabolism, and is usually able to dissipate the heat by radiation of heat through the skin or by evaporation of sweat. However, in extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous physical exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat and the body temperature rises, sometimes up to 106 °F (41.1 °C) or higher. Another cause of sunstroke is dehydration. A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which causes the body temperature to rise.Causes and Risk Factors:Extremely warm and humid temperatures can quickly overwhelm your body's cooling system — particularly when the air is not circulating. When sweating can no longer keep you cool, body temperature quickly rises, causing the symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • Dehydration contributes to sunstroke. Dehydration happens when your body excretes more water than it takes in. For example, increased water loss through excessive urination is a common side effect of caffeine, alcohol, and many prescription and over-the-counter medications. When the water supply in your body is low, cells begin to pull water from the bloodstream, forcing organs to work harder. Dehydration can also affect the skin's ability to cool the body efficiently. The heart must pump an adequate supply of blood to the skin in order for the skin to cool the body. When you are dehydrated, the blood's volume is reduced, so the cooling process becomes less effective. The taxing effect on the body escalates into the symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • Prolonged exposure to the sun contributes to sunstroke. When body fluids are not adequately replenished, sun exposure can cause rapid dehydration. Even on mild or overcast days, the sun can have dangerous health effects. The heat index is a measure calculated by the National Weather Service. It indicates how hot it "feels" outside in the shade when both the air temperature and the relative humidity are considered. In the direct sun, the heat index rises even higher.
  • Very old or very young age.
  • Low level of physical activity.
  • Obesity.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diseases of the skin, kidney, or liver.
  • Decreased ability to sweat, such as in scleroderma and cystic fibrosis.
  • Medications that can aggravate sunstroke, including water pills (diuretics), allergy pills (antihistamines), tranquilizers, anticholinergics, and amphetamines.
  • Heavy, restrictive clothing.
  • Poor ventilation or lack of air conditioning in home.
  • High humidity.
Athletes generally suffer a slightly different type of sunstroke called exertional sunstroke. In exertional sunstroke, victims continue to sweat, despite the increased core temperature. For athletes, the diagnosis of heat stroke is made with a core temperature of greater then 40.5°C/105°F and mental status changes, such as confusion, disorientation and clumsiness. Collapse and coma can occur if symptoms are ignored. If any of these symptoms of heat stroke are present, emergency treatment and cooling the patient immediately is essential.Children are even more at risk than grown ups. Kids will suffer much faster from sunstroke and it is important not to leave them in the sun for too long. Also keep in mind to always use sunblock or suncream on your children. Drinking water can help and will keep you and your kids from dehydrating.Symptoms:Symptoms may include the following:Headache, nausea, dizziness.
  • Red, dry, very hot skin (sweating has ceased).
  • Pulse-strong & rapid.
  • Small pupils.
  • Very high fever.
  • May become extremely disoriented.
  • Unconsciousness and possible convulsions.
Diagnosis:The doctor will review your symptoms and take blood pressure and temperature readings. Rectal temperature is used rather than temperature in the mouth. He or she may also take a sample of your blood and urine for testing.Treatment:If you ever experience sunstroke or see someone experiencing sunstroke you must act. Sunstroke isn't something to joke about and can be very serious. The good thing is there are a couple of things to do. Depending on the severity the things are slightly different.The first thing you should be concerned about is the body temperature. Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin (for example you may spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose), fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation, and place ice packs under armpits and groin.Preventive Measures:Always acclimatize for up to a week when exercising in hot weather conditions. This allows your body to gradually adapt to the heat.
  • Hydrate well before thirst kicks in. Once you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.
  • Do not exercise vigorously during the hottest time of day. Try to train closer to sunrise or sunset.
  • Wear light, loose clothing, such as cotton, so sweat can evaporate. Better yet, invest in some clothes that wick, like Cool-Max.
  • Use sunscreen to prevent sunburn, which can hinder the skin's ability to cool itself.
  • Wear a hat that provides shade and allows ventilation.
  • Drink plenty of liquids such as, water or sports drink every 15 minutes (drink 16-20 oz/hour).
  • If you feel your abilities start to diminish, stop activity and try to cool off.
  • Do not drink alcohol or beverages with caffeine before exercise because they increase the rate of dehydration.
  • Remember, it is easier to prevent heat illness than to treat it once symptoms develop.
NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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