Thursday 4 August 2016

Hot Topic | Marla Ahlgrimm Discusses Hyperthermia

Marla Ahlgrimm
Summer may be winding down but that doesn’t mean the heat is ready to hibernate just yet, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The women’s healthcare expert cautions that heat stroke is a real risk until fall, especially for anyone working or playing outside for long periods of time.

Q: What are the symptoms of heat stroke?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A heat stroke occurs when the body reaches an internal temperature of 104 degrees or higher due to exposure or strenuous activity. One of the first symptoms is fainting, so it is important to keep an eye on the heat and take breaks every half hour or so. Behavior changes and trouble walking straight are also signs. A weakened or rapid pulse and not sweating in the heat are major indicators that conditions have become dangerous.

Q: Who is at risk for heat stroke?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The majority of individuals who die due to hyperthermia are seniors with preexisting conditions. Health problems that increase the risk of heat-related illness include vascular issues, heart and lung disease, alcoholism, and obesity.

Q: Is heat stroke preventable?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The first step in preventing a heat stroke is to avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. However, if that is not possible, staying hydrated and wearing cotton or lightweight clothing appropriate for the weather may help. Those without access to air conditioning when temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher should spend time somewhere cool, such as a shopping center or friend’s house, during the hottest part of the day.

Q: How is heat stroke treated?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Early heat exhaustion may be treated with resting in a cool place, drinking plenty of water, and soaking in a cool bath or being draped with cool, wet towels. If these measures do not help, the patient may be treated at the emergency room with IV fluids.


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