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Saint Agnes News

Hot weather increases chance of heat exhaustion, heat stroke
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For more information, contact:
Jaime Huss
(559) 450-5317 (office); (559) 779-6015 (cell)

As temperatures climb towards 100 degrees and above, Saint Agnes Medical Center physicians and nurses are reminding Valley residents to take precautions against heat-related illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, a more serious condition.

When sweat evaporates from our skin, it cools us off. The body's cooling system can fail, though, if we overexert ourselves on hot days without replenishing fluids and salts lost through sweat during exercise or other strenuous activities. When this happens, a person's body heat can climb to dangerous levels. This can result in heat exhaustion or a heat stroke, which is life-threatening. It is very important to drink lots of liquids before, during and after exercise in hot weather.

Heat exhaustion takes time to develop. Symptoms include cool, clammy, pale skin; sweating; dry mouth; fatigue and weakness; dizziness and headache; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; and a weak and rapid pulse.

Heat stroke is a more serious medical condition and can strike suddenly. Heat stroke occurs when the body's cooling system fails and the body's temperature rises fast. This creates an emergency condition and immediate medical intervention is necessary. The symptoms include a very high temperature (104 degrees or higher); hot, dry, red skin; a lack of sweat; deep breathing and fast pulse (followed by shallow breathing and weak pulse); dilated pupils; and confusion, convulsions, or loss of consciousness.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be prevented with this advice:

  • Drink lots of liquids to replace the fluids you lose from sweating. Water is your best choice.
  • Do not stay in or leave anyone in closed, parked cars during hot weather.  
  • At the first signs of heat exhaustion, get out of the sun or your body temperature will keep rising.
  • Do not exercise vigorously during the hottest times of the day. If you must be outside, take periodic rests in the shade. 
  • If you don't have air conditioning, visit a public place like a mall, library, restaurant or theater.  
  • Wear light weight, loose-fitting clothing materials such as cotton, so sweat can evaporate. Avoid wearing dark colors, which won't reflect the heat. 
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat with vents.  
  • Drink water or water with salt added if you sweat a lot. Sport drinks such as Gatorade, All Sport and PowerAde are good, too.  
  • If you feel very hot, try to cool off. Open a window, use a fan or turn on an air conditioner.
  • To keep your house cooler, close your blinds and shades during the day.  
  • Do not drink alcohol or beverages with caffeine because they speed up fluid loss. 
  • Cool your body temperature with a wet rag on the back of your neck or a cold bath or shower. 
  • Most importantly, pay attention to how you're feeling. We also encourage you to look out for your friends and family, especially the elderly.

For additional resources on how to stay healthy and cool this summer, click here.


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Saint Agnes Medical Center | 1303 E. Herndon Ave. Fresno, CA 93720 | 559-450-3000