Fighting the Heat: Understanding Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke in AustraliaHeat is a buzz kill. You know it if you’ve lived your whole life in a hot country. Heatstroke is a serious condition anyone can suffer when their body overheats. Body temperature that rises to 40 degrees or higher can kill you.

Who is at risk?

Anyone is at risk, but several factors increase that risk. Babies and young children have a higher likelihood of suffering heat stroke, and so do people who are at least 65 years old. Those who participate in strenuous activities like sports in hot weather are also at an elevated risk. Traveling to a place with a significantly hotter climate puts you in danger, as well.

What should be done to avoid heat stroke?

Staying away from the direct heat of the sun is important. Air conditioning is best; electric fans may blow off some of the heat, but in very hot weather they may just circulate hot air. If you are outdoors, stay under a shade as often as you can. Whether it’s trees or retractable awnings, adding some shade to your property can keep you safer from the effects of direct sun (not just heat stroke). If you’re traveling to a hot place, don’t exert too much effort and stay away from the sun. Rest and cold refreshments may go a long way in helping you avoid risks.

What should you do if you suspect someone is a victim?

The safest thing to do is to call an ambulance. Emergency treatment is required in treating heat stroke. If you don’t act fast, the victim’s brain, heart or other parts of their body could be permanently damaged. People have died of heat stroke. It’s not something you should take lightly or ignore.

How would you know if it’s heat stroke?

A high body temperature is the first sign you should watch out for. Confusion, slurred speech and rapid breathing are also signs of heat stroke. Call for help immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.