Recognizing and Preventing Heat Strokes

Recognizing and Preventing Heat Strokes

By Tamara Grabeal, APRN-CNP of Xpress Wellness Urgent Care

Heat stroke is a condition that can occur when a person’s body becomes too hot. Most commonly, this happens when people exercise or work in very hot and humid weather without drinking enough fluids. It is more likely to affect the elderly and those with health problems. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency and can lead to death if not treated promptly.

Heat cramps and heat exhaustion can occur if a person gets too hot. These conditions are not as serious as heat stroke, but they can lead to heat stroke if not treated.

How does a person suspect they have had a heat stroke? Typically, the body temperature will increase to 104 degrees Farenheit or higher. Brain symptoms which may present include confusion, hallucinating, difficulty walking, seizures, or passing out. Heat stroke can also cause fast breathing, fast heartbeat, skin redness and warmth, vomiting or diarrhea, muscle cramps or weakness, or headaches.

The best way to prevent heat stroke is to drink enough fluids such as sports drinks and water so you do not feel thirsty. Do not drink so much that you feel uncomfortable. Try not to be too active and take breaks when working or exercising in the heat. It is best to exercise or work early in the day before it gets too hot outside. Wearing loose, light-weight clothing without layers and avoidance of being in a hot car also can minimize the risk.

You should also watch for symptoms of heat cramps or heat exhaustion. Heat cramp symptoms include painful muscle cramps. Heat exhaustion can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and increased thirst. If these symptoms develop, it is important to cool your body down right away to avoid experiencing a heat stroke.

The best way to cool your body down is to spray yourself with cool water in front of a fan, move into the shade, go into an air-conditioned building or care, taking a cool shower or bath, drinking water or sports drink while avoiding alcohol or caffeine, take off any extra clothing you are wearing, or placing a cold pack or cloth on your neck or armpit.

Source: Heat stroke (The Basics) (2016). Retrieved from

About Xpress Wellness Urgent Care

Xpress Wellness Urgent Care treats non-life threatening illnesses and injuries on a walk-in basis (no appointment needed) for adults and children including common illnesses, sprains, strains, lacerations, flu, allergies, infections, sports physicals, and more.

Xpress Wellness Urgent Care is open 7 days a week with extended evening hours and weekend services. Xpress Wellness Urgent Care offers patients the convenience of selecting a visit time that best fits their schedule through Xpress Check-in.

Xpress Wellness Urgent Care is a privately-held company based in Enid, Oklahoma. The company is led by Dr. Scott Williams, Chief Medical Officer, and Brian Hayden, President. Xpress Wellness has eight locations in Oklahoma—Elk City , Enid, Lawton, Muskogee, Sapulpa, Shawnee, Weatherford, and Woodward. Xpress will open clinics in Andover, Kansas, and Chickasha, Oklahoma, summer 2016.

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This is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Everyone’s medical needs vary based on various factors. If you need medical advice or treatment, visit the nearest Xpress Wellness Urgent Care or your primary care provider for evaluation. If you believe your condition is life threatening, call 911.