Dizziness and a Throbbing Headache: The Common Signs of Heat Stroke

Dealing with the heat is a reality of Texas life, but it’s important to remember that unpleasant temperatures can lead to more than just discomfort. They can also lead to a variety of heat illnesses including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat fainting and heat stroke. These heat-related afflictions tend to affect senior citizens more than healthy kids and adults, but hard-working young athletes can fall victim too.

If you work or play in the Texas sun, it’s essential that you know the signs of symptoms of heat stroke, which is the most serious of all heat illnesses. Left untreated, heat stroke can cause serious damage to internal organs and the brain. It can even lead to death. Knowing how to recognize and respond to heat stroke will help you protect your friends and loved ones.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke

You may have heard of sunstroke, which is another name for heat stroke. Most individuals who suffer from heat stroke develop other heat illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat cramps first. Being exposed to very hot temperatures for a long time and being dehydrated will increase your risk of developing heat stroke.

The major symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Dizziness or Lightheaded
  • Hot, dry skin
  • Lack of sweat
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion or Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Throbbing headache

If you suspect someone has heat stroke, you should

  • Call 911
  • Move the person to an air conditioned or shady area
  • Remove unnecessary clothing
  • Fan the individual
  • Moisten the skin with a cool, wet sponge
  • Immerse the person in a cool bath

Ice packs and ice baths should only be used if the individual suffering from heat stroke is healthy, relatively young and was exercising vigorously right before becoming ill. You should not use ice baths or packs on very young children, elderly people or individuals whose heat stroke was not related to vigorous exercise.

Remember that heat stroke generally develops after a less-serious heat illness has occurred. Reacting before one of these illnesses can progress is a great way to prevent heat stroke. If you’re with someone who is suffering from a heat illness such as heat exhaustion or fainting, go to the emergency room or an urgent care center that offers acute illness services immediately.

All members of your family should have sports physicals completed before participating in sports. Ask your doctor to share tips on staying hydrated and avoiding heat illness when you go in for your appointment. If your kids participate in sports, make sure that they have access to water and electrolyte drinks throughout practices and games.

At Integra Urgent Care, we know that responding to heat illness quickly is essential. We’re here to help your family stay safe and healthy no matter the sports or outdoors activities you love. If you’re worried that you or a loved one is suffering from a less-serious heat illness, come in today so we can help.

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