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Heat stroke serious event

We all like to have fun in the sun. However, whether it is a relaxing day out by the pool, going on a hike, or participating or playing in a sporting event; making sure you stay hydrated and cooled down is the most critical things you can do.

This past weekend, I learned that lesson the hard way at my softball teams travel tournament. I preached to the team at practice and during the day Saturday to continuously take in fluids, and I guess in the long run I was more focused on them than myself. While I thought I was drinking enough water, I simply wasn’t refilling what I was sweating out. As temperatures hovered around the mid 90’s and the heat index much hotter, as the day wore on the worse I felt. At times, I felt like I was going to pass out.

Later in the evening, while my family was at dinner, I really didn’t feel like eating but was drinking ice water. At some point, I became very pale and felt horrible extremely quickly. So off to the emergency room we went. I have been dehydrated before on many occasions, but this was much different.

Turns out, not only was I dehydrated, but had heat exhaustion as well. I know the effects of heat stroke, as I saw it first hand how my aunt’s life changed after she had a heat stroke. Prior to, although she was in her mid 70’s at the time, she was still able to get out, drive and live her life. After the heat stroke, she was relegated to constant in-home care for the rest of her life.

Never in my life would I have imagined that it would happen to me, but my eyes were opened quickly after this past weekend.

The Center for Disease Control data shows that from 2006-2010 over 3,000 people died due to heat related illness. This is much higher than I thought, but after this past weekend, I realized vividly the severity of how the heat can quickly change your life.

Here are some signs and tips from the American Red Cross web site that relate to heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Heat exhaustion signs:

• Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin

• Heavy sweating

• Headache

• Nausea

• Dizziness

• Weakness

• Exhaustion

How to help heat exhaustion:

• Move them to a cooler place.

• Remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin.

• Fan the person.

• If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly.

• Watch for changes in condition.

• If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

Heat stroke signs (Life-threatening):

• Hot, red skin which may be dry or moist.

• Changes in consciousness.

• Vomiting and high body temperature.

How to help heat stroke:

• Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke.

• Move the person to a cooler place.

• Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

Take it from me, the heat can escalate very quickly. Take the time to drink plenty of water, take the proper precautions and watch for the warning signs.

It may save you from a trip to the emergency room or something more serious.