The summer heat can be dangerous, especially in Fort Worth where it can easily reach triple digits. Staying cool isn’t just a matter of comfort — it’s also a matter of health and safety. One of the greatest dangers of high temperatures is the risk of heatstroke, a condition that can lead to serious harm. Learn more about what to watch for and what to do in today’s article, and make sure your home stays safe and cool with air conditioning services from Arthur Hagar, the HVAC specialists Fort Worth has trusted since 1949.
What Is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke describes a condition where your body dangerously overheats, typically marked by a body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. It is often precipitated by prolonged exposure or serious physical activity in high temperatures. There is a spectrum of heat-related illness and injury, starting with less serious damage like sunburn and escalating through heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is the most serious condition on the spectrum, and any sign of it should be treated by medical professionals.
How do you know if someone is suffering from heatstroke or is at risk of succumbing to it? There are a few symptoms to look for, including:
- High temperature
- Confusion, agitation, and/or slurred speech
- Hot, dry, flushed skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Strong, rapid pulse
- Loss of consciousness
Any one of these symptoms is cause for concern. A combination of them is a strong indicator of heatstroke.
What to Do
If you think someone is experiencing heatstroke, seek medical attention immediately. In the interim, move them indoors or into the shade and help them cool down. Remove excess clothing and place them in a cool bath or place ice packs at important points like the head, neck, armpits, and groin.
Heat exhaustion is often a precursor to heat stroke, with symptoms like cold, clammy skin, heavy sweating, and muscle cramps. Those suffering from heat exhaustion can sip water, but if their symptoms have worsened to indicate heatstroke, you should not offer them any liquids.
Who is most at risk of experiencing heat stroke? Young children and adults over the age of 65 are particularly vulnerable, because their central nervous system is weaker and reduces their ability to handle extreme heat. You are also at risk if you lack air conditioning, perform physical activity in hot weather, and/or are suddenly exposed to a hot climate such as a heat wave in your area or through a move to a new region. Certain medications can also increase your risk, as well as health conditions such as obesity or heart or lung disease.
How to Prevent Heatstroke
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to avoid heatstroke or any other heat-related illness. First of all, wear light, loose-fitting clothing and protect yourself from sunburn with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Stay hydrated and limit your activity during the hottest times of day.
Ensuring your AC unit – or the unit at an elderly family member’s home – is in good condition is another important step you can take to prevent problems. At Arthur Hagar, we’re there for you every step of the way in the lifetime of your heating and cooling system to ensure your safety and comfort. When it’s time for a new unit, we can help you find trustworthy equipment and our expert team can handle the installation. We can also keep your existing AC unit running strong for years to come with air conditioning repair and preventative maintenance.
Stay safe this summer! Call Arthur Hagar today for expert HVAC service and repair needs.