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Heat Stroke: Know the Signs

Shot of an old lady sitting on the grass on a sunny day, feeling faint, and a young woman assisting her

As the mercury rises this summer, it is important to recognize the signs of heat stroke and know how to prevent it. Older people are more susceptible to heat stroke because their bodies are less adaptable to changes in temperature. In addition, certain medications can also affect how their bodies react to changing temperatures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following are all signs of heat stroke:

  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Feeling confused
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and you should call 911 if you or a loved one experiences the above symptoms. While you can cool someone off by bringing them into an air-conditioned home or using cool towels on them, the CDC says you should not give them anything to drink.

If you are caring for an aging loved one, make sure they drink plenty of water, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Make sure they spend time in air conditioned buildings or in a cool, shady spot during the hottest part of the day. Have them dress in light colored, loose fitting clothing and avoid strenuous exercise or activity during the heat of the day.

For more information on heat stroke and heat-related illness, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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