Here we are — in the waning dog days of summer. While most of us are able to escape the heat by staying indoors, many others — landscapers, construction workers, to name a few — have no choice but to endure the record temperatures.
For those residents, heat stroke is a serious and very real concern that occurs when the body’s temperature rises so quickly, fails to sweat, and is then unable to cool itself down.
Death or permanent disability is possible if the matter is not handled quickly.
How do you know if you are in trouble?
According to the Center for Disease Control, the following symptoms of heat stroke include:
For your pets:
• Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
• Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease.
• Some breeds of dogs like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short, smushed muzzles, will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
• Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
• Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her.
• Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
• Take her directly to a veterinarian.
*Excerpted from HumaneSociety.org.
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Throbbing headache
- High body temperature
- Slurred speech
If heat stroke is suspected, the Center for Disease Control recommends finding shade or cooler surroundings immediately, soaking clothes in cool water, spraying, sponging, or showering with cool water and fanning the body — all while calling 911.
Heat exhaustion is brought about by an “excessive loss of the water and salt, usually through excessive sweating.”
In addition to outdoor workers, the elderly, anyone with high blood pressure, and those working in a hot environment are all susceptible to heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Heavy sweating
- Extreme weakness or fatigue
- Dizziness, confusion
- Clammy, moist skin
- Pale or flushed complexion
- Muscle cramps
- Slightly elevated body temperature
- Fast and shallow breathing
If you think you or someone who know is suffering from heat exhaustion, the Center for Disease Control recommends resting in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area, drinking plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages and taking a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath as soon as possible.
Additionally, heat rash — clusters of red pimples or tiny blisters — can develop with excessive sweating in hot, humid conditions.
According to the CDC, the most common areas affected are the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases. Keep the area dry and apply a light dusting of powder for comfort.
More heat-related tips and illnesses can be found at www.cdc.gov.