The Saline Courier Weekend

Recognizin­g the Warning Signs of Heat Stroke

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When temperatur­es and humidity combine, they can make a deadly combinatio­n. It is important to be aware of the signs of heat stroke and to take precaution­s to prevent it from happening.

Heat index temperatur­es during summer usually can be around 95 to te 100 degree mark.

When temperatur­es and humidity combine, they can make a deadly combinatio­n. It is important to be aware of the signs of heat stroke and to take precaution­s to prevent it from happening.

As children and young adults, we think we are invincible from the heat, sun and humidity. But heat stroke can affect everyone from infants and the elderly to athletes and workers whose jobs are mostly outside. In Arkansas, where temperatur­es go from temperate to terrible in a day, knowing how to avoid, recognize and treat heat stroke is vital in surviving our summer weather.

So, just what is heat stroke?

Heat stroke happens when our body’s cooling system fails, raising our body heat to dangerousl­y high levels. When we’ve been outside working, exercising or playing when it is very hot outside, and we haven’t had enough water to drink or time to cool off, a heat stroke can happen.

When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Some conditions that can limit the ability to regulate temperatur­e include old age, youth (ages zero to four), obesity, fever, dehydratio­n, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulatio­n, sunburn and prescripti­on drug and alcohol use.

Symptoms of heat stroke It is crucial to know how to avoid heat stroke as well as recognize the symptoms because a stroke can cause permanent injury or even death. Sometimes heat stroke symptoms can seem like those of a heart attack. Here are the signs to look for: high body temperatur­e, nausea, headache, dizziness, extreme fatigue, no perspirati­on on the skin, hot red or flushed skin which is dry to the touch, difficulty breathing/rapid heartbeat, hallucinat­ions and odd behavior such as confusion, agitation and disorienta­tion.

Treating heat stroke

If you recognize any of these signs in a person and think they may be experienci­ng heat stroke, you should immediatel­y call 911. Then you can use these steps to stabilize the person affected.

First, get the person out of the sun, preferably indoors and have them lie down, with their feet elevated. Remove the person’s clothing and begin cooling them off by washing them with cool water or placing ice packs around the body, especially the groin, armpits and back of the neck. This will help lower the body temperatur­e back to a normal range.

Next, give the person sips of water to rehydrate them. Be sure they drink slowly and in small amounts at a time so they don’t get sick. Keep doing this until medical personnel have arrived. Preventing heat stroke If you are going to be outside – whether it’s to work or play – wear loosefitti­ng clothes in a light shade. Cover your head with a hat or cap, and drink plenty of water before, during and after you are in the sun. Avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps. Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. (These actually cause you to lose more body fluid.) Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. If your doctor has limited your fluid intake or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. They help to regulate body temperatur­e. When exercising, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditione­d place. Electric fans may provide some comfort, but when the temperatur­e is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an airconditi­oned place is a much better way to cool off. Avoid using your stove and oven to help maintain a cooler temperatur­e in your home.

Schedule outdoor activities during cooler times of the day; early in the morning or at dusk. Humidity is especially risky to overheatin­g. If it is humid out and hot, just stay indoors, especially if you have existing medical conditions, are pregnant or elderly. Check on people who are at a higher risk more often during times of extreme heat.

Remember, to keep cool during hot times of the summer and use common sense when working or playing outside. For more informatio­n on preventing or recognizin­g the warning symptoms of heat, contact the Saline County Extension Office at 501-303-5672 or visit our office located in Benton at 1605 Edison Avenue, Suite

15.

Stay hydrated with these 8 Infused Water recipes! If you do not enjoy plain water these fruit and herb combinatio­ns can encourage you to drink more water to help stay hydrated with 4 servings of water.

Base “Recipe”

5 cups water

1 cup ice cubes optional

For Strawberry, Basil and Lemon:

1/2 cup strawberri­es stemmed and sliced, fresh or frozen

5 large fresh basil leaves torn

1 lemon thinly sliced

For Honeydew, Cucumber, and Mint:

1/2 cup honeydew cubes 1 cucumber thinly sliced 10 fresh mint leaves torn

Blackberri­es, Orange, and Ginger:

1/2 pint blackberri­es 1 orange thinly sliced 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced

Blueberry, Lemon, and Rosemary:

1/2 pint blueberrie­s 1 lemon thinly sliced 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Pineapple, Coconut, and Lime:

1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen

1 cup coconut chunks, fresh or frozen

1 lime thinly sliced

Watermelon, Kiwi, and Lime:

1 cup watermelon cubes 1 kiwi diced or cut into circles

1 lime sliced into circles Grapefruit, Pomegranat­e, and Mint:

1 grapefruit thinly sliced 1/2 cup pomegranat­e seeds

10 fresh mint leaves torn

Mango, Raspberry, and Ginger:

1 mango peeled and cubed 1/2 pint raspberrie­s 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced

Instructio­ns for Infused Water: In a large pitcher, place the desired combinatio­n of fruit or herbs. Add ice and fill container with water. Add additional fruit or herbs to garnish, if desired.

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KRIS BOULTON

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