Heat stroke occurs after prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It often occurs in people who are also dehydrated, causing the body’s temperature regulation system to fail. Someone with heat stroke has a core body temperature of at least 105 F, along with symptoms related to the central nervous system.
Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat. Bicyclists need to be especially aware of dehydration risks, as the high output workout can quickly deplete the body’s resources.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Throbbing headache
- High body temperature
- Slurred speech
If heat stress symptoms occur, take the following steps:
➠ Stop physical activity and relax in a cool place.
➠ Drink plenty of fluids rich in salts and electrolytes to replace moisture loss through sweating.
➠ Use cool compresses to decrease temperature.
➠ In the event of suspected heat stroke, call 911.