Watch Out for Summer Heatstroke

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Enjoy the sunshine in moderation.

Technically speaking, summer doesn’t officially begin until June 20, but it’s already pretty dang hot outside, so I think we can just dispel with the formalities and say “happy summer.” The sun is shining, birds are singing, and it’s finally becoming safer to go outside. This year’s summer is poised to be one of the most fulfilling in recent memory, though that does present something of a concern. If everyone runs out to spend every waking moment in the hot summer sun, there’s bound to be a higher occurrence of heatstroke.

Heatstroke, also known as sunstroke, is an extremely serious form of heat injury caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures coupled with exhaustion and dehydration. Your body has a natural temperature control system, but when you spend too long out in dangerously high temperatures, it quite literally gets fried, causing your internal temperature to spiral out of control. Common signs of heatstroke include dizziness and headache, a lack of sweat despite high temperatures, red and dry skin, and rapid, shallow breathing.

In the event someone near you is afflicted with heat stroke, immediately move them to a cooler place like a shady spot or an air-conditioned building and call for an ambulance. In the meantime, apply first aid cooling techniques like wetting their forehead with a sponge, fanning them, or applying ice packs to the armpits, neck, back, and other spots with high concentrations of blood vessels.

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Heatstroke is a potentially deadly affliction, so the best course of action is to try and prevent it from occurring to begin with. Wear light, breezy, and brightly-colored clothing on hot days, and try not to spend too much time in direct sunlight if you can help it. Make sure to wear sunscreen, and above all else, stay hydrated. Keep a steady supply of clean water, plus a sports drink if it’s really hot to replenish some of your body’s salt content.