How to Avoid a Heat Stroke in Extreme Temperatures

How to Avoid a Heat Stroke in Extreme Temperatures

Hot weather can cause health issues, including hyperthermia. To prevent overheating, follow these expert tips.

Your internal thermostat works to keep your core temperature within two degrees of 98.6°F. Your hypothalamus helps your body stay hydrated, maintain salt levels and control the release of temperature-regulating chemicals and hormones. It works with your skin, sweat glands and blood vessels to maintain a comfortable temperature.

But external factors, such as dehydration, prolonged exercise, medications (diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs), poor circulation and/or obesity can affect your core temperature. When you get hyperthermia, or a heat stroke, you may experience sudden dizziness, heat cramps and exhaustion. A heat stroke can also cause:

  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Lack of sweating
  • Flushed skin
  • Faintness
  • Staggering
  • Delirium
  • Inappropriate decisions
  • Coma
  • Death

Suspect a heat stroke? Call 911.

To avoid hyperthermia, dress appropriately and drink plenty of water. Be sure to also avoid added-sugar beverages and alcohol. If you’re working or exercising outside, retreat to cooler spaces at least hourly.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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