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Q: What is the treatment for heat stroke?

Posted August 13, 2014 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: It is important for the person to be treated immediately as heat stroke can cause permanent damage or death. There are some immediate first-aid measures you can take while waiting for help to arrive.

Get the person to a shaded area. Remove clothing and gently apply cool water to the skin followed by fanning to stimulate sweating. Apply ice packs to the groin and armpits. Have the person lie down in a cool area with the feet slightly elevated. Cool the person rapidly however you can. Intravenous (IV) fluids are often necessary to compensate for fluid or electrolyte loss. Bed rest is generally advised and body temperature may fluctuate abnormally for weeks after heat stroke.

Q: How can heat stroke be prevented?
A: There are precautions that can help protect you against the adverse effects of heat stroke.

Drink plenty of fluids during outdoor activities, especially on hot days. Water and sports drinks are the drinks of choice. Avoid caffeinated tea, coffee, soda, and alcohol, as these can lead to dehydration. Wear lightweight, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing in light colors. Schedule vigorous activity and sports for cooler times of the day. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses and using an umbrella. Increase time spent outdoors gradually to get your body used to the heat. Take frequent drink breaks and mist yourself with a spray bottle to avoid becoming overheated. Try to spend as much time indoors as possible on very hot and humid days. Never leave children or pets in closed cars on hot sunny days.

Information provided by Bill Monroe R. Ph., Medicap Pharmacy, 400 N. Elm St., Jefferson, 515-386-2164.

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