If you follow Okaloosa County Beach Safety on Facebook to keep up with surf conditions, you may have noticed an uptick in warnings about heatstroke. With the average outside temperature for this time of year being about 95 F, heatstroke is a serious concern; and August will only be hotter. Air conditioners are certainly working overtime!
And it’s not just spending time in the sun’s rays outside that you have to watch out for. Indoor homes and businesses with faulty air conditioning systems can be a problem too. An indoor fan may help you feel a little better, but that relief isn’t enough. Air conditioning not only brings the temperature down to a reasonable number but also removes humidity from the air, another key factor in heatstroke. If you notice your a/c system struggling to keep you cool, please call a technician to diagnose the problem. It could be you’re due for some a/c repair. In the long run this will save you money in addition to keeping you comfortable and preventing the possibility of having to experience the adverse effects of heatstroke.
Heatstroke happens when your body overheats, usually after being exposed for prolonged periods to high temperatures, especially if you have been physically exerting yourself. Heatstroke, the most serious kind of heat injury, takes place when your internal body temperature hits 104 F or higher. This condition requires fast emergency treatment, so don’t take it lightly. You can suffer heart, brain, kidney, or muscle damage, and these can even lead to death if you delay treatment. Know what symptoms to look for. Confusion or slurred speech, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, a racing heart rate, and throbbing headache are all indications of heat stroke.
There are steps you can take to help avoid heatstroke. The easiest step is to stay hydrated with plenty of water and skip the alcohol in hot temps. Wear clothes that allow sweat to easily evaporate from the body, with as few layers as possible. Also know the risk factors, so you can keep an eye on yourself and those you love. The very young and people older than 65 are at a higher risk for heatstroke, as is anyone who is overweight or sedentary. Some types of medications impact your ability to stay hydrated and respond appropriately to heat. Vasoconstrictors, which narrow the blood vessels; beta blockers, diuretics, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, or stimulants can all make you more likely to have a heatstroke. Chronic heart and lung disease are also risk factors. And if you’ve already had heatstroke once, your likelihood of having it happen again are higher.