Sure, you have heard the warning, “come inside, you don’t want to get heatstroke” but do you really know what heatstroke is, what to do if someone has the symptoms, or how to prevent it? In this blog, we will tackle the 5 W’s (and bonus H) of heatstroke so you and your family can have prevent this life-threatening illness.
Who Gets Heatstroke?
Anyone can fall victim to this warm weather ailment. Certain people, however, are more susceptible to heatstroke than others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found between 1999 and 2003 in the United States, an average of 688 people per year died due to heatstroke. In this study, the CDC found that the risk of death by heatstroke was more likely to occur in individuals who were young, old, diagnosed with heart disease, or living with a chronic illness.
What is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke occurs when an individual’s body temperature rises significantly higher than normal. The most common situations that result in heatstroke are spending too much time in the sun while performing strenuous activity and being trapped in an enclosed space with an improper cooling system. The symptoms of heatstroke are defined by The Mayo Clinic as:
When Can Someone Get Heatstroke?
One common myth of heatstroke is that it only occurs in the summer months. Heatstroke is an issue that can happen any time of the year, especially to people left in cars. According to the NHTSA heatstroke can occur to an individual left in a car when temperatures are as low as 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where is Heatstroke Most Likely to Occur?
Heatstroke can happen to people anywhere in the United States. It is more likely to occur, however, while spending considerable time outdoors performing a strenuous activity or when someone has been left in an enclosed space such as a vehicle or poorly ventilated room.
Why Does Heatstroke Occur?
Heatstroke is most frequently the result of an accident such as forgetting to drink extra water and take a break in the shade when mowing the lawn or forgetting there is a child in the backseat of the car before heading into work.
The latter cause recently made headline news when a 10 month old foster child was found dead in a car after being forgotten for over two hours. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child’s body temperature rises 5 times faster than an adult’s, leading to dozens of unintentional deaths each year.
How Can You Prevent Heatstroke?
If you are planning to participate in an outdoor activity on a warm day, remember to:
AAA suggests the following ACTions to help prevent accidentally forgetting your child in the car:
Pets, too, are susceptible to heat stroke. There are several steps you can take to help them stay cool during these warm summer days:
Educating yourself and your family is the first step in preventing heatstroke related illness this summer. We hope you have a great summer and remember to stay cool in this DC heat.
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