Health Watch: Heat Stroke

Rapid City, SD (KEVN) Hi, I'm Dr. Annie Hibbs, I'm a third-year family medicine resident and I will be starting my practice at Creekside Medical Clinic here in the fall. Today I want to talk to you about heat stroke and heat-related illness. While it may have been snowing here yesterday summer is just around the corner and it is important to know how to protect yourself from the heat and recognize signs of heat-related illness. Heat illness occurs when your body's ability to cool its self down is overcome by the amount of heat it is exposed to or the amount of heat it produces through the excursion. We see it most commonly in outdoor athletes and outdoor manual laborers. Individuals with chronic medical problems or the elderly are more likely to develop heat illness. Heat-related illness ranges from mild heat illness to heat exhaustion, to heat stroke which is life-threatening. In mild heat illness, you may develop swelling in your legs, muscle cramps, or heat rash. These things can be managed by moving to a cool enviroment, drinking fluids, and stretching and typically resolve without medical attention. In heat exhaustion you develop a headache, fatigue, light head nesses, vomiting, and your skin becomes cold and clammy but your body temperature is elevated. Anyone with these symptoms should have measurements taken to cool them down and to be brought to the emergency department as it can develop into heat stroke if it isn't recognized or treated. heat stroke is a medical emergency and requires evaluation and treatment. Signs of heat stroke include confusion, seizures, rapid breathing, and heart rate and significantly increased body temperature. To prevent heat-related illness include staying well-hydrated wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and avoiding activities during extreme heat. If you want to go for a run outdoors during the summer try to go in the early morning or evening to avoid peak temperatures. If you can't avoid being active in the heat be sure to take frequent breaks to get out of the heat and drink fluids. I'm Dr. Annie Hibbs with your HealthWatch