Author Topic: Avoid Heat Stroke this Summer  (Read 2516 times)

Offline scgardenweb

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Avoid Heat Stroke this Summer
« on: October 14, 2016, 02:01 PM »
Avoid Heat Stroke this Summer

By Shirley Ward, BSN, RN (former Sunshine Gardener)

Illness caused by exposure to heat can be prevented. Gardeners are at risk for heat illnesses because we work during hot conditions, usually longer than we planned, and don't drink adequate fluids. Risk factors for heat illnesses are age, heart disease and medications that have a "dry mouth" side effect. (These include diuretics, decongestants, antidepressants, and high blood pressure medications.) Intake of alcohol and caffeine increases the risk as does weather temperture and high humidity. (Very low humidity is dangerous as well, since most of us use perspiration as a guide to body fluid loss).

Three stages of heat illnesses:

  • Heat Cramps -- usually in legs and abdominal area.
  • Heat Exhaustion -- nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache, lightheadedness. Skin is (usually) cool and wet. Skin color may be grayish.
  • Heat Stroke -- skin is red, hot and dry. Person may be confused or disoriented. Sudden loss of consciousness followed by seizures could indicate heat stroke.

First Aid: (Start immediately since heat cramps can go into heat exhaustion and then to heat stroke). Get the person out of the hot environment and into a cool place. Cool with sprays of cool water. Place wet, cool cloths against the person's skin.

Heat Cramps or Heat Exhaustion: Have the person sit or lie down and replace body fluids by giving water to drink. If the person is not feeling better in thirty minutes or if conditions worsen, call 911.

Heat Stroke: This is a life-threatening emergency. Call 911 and cool the person as rapidly as possible. Wet the person with water, cool with a fan -- change cool wet cloths as soon as they become hot. Do not give an unconscious person anything by mouth.


  • Don't do heavy physical labor during the hot part of the day.
  • Bring water or drinks with you and drink even though you are not thirsty. Water is best; no alcohol or caffeine. Wear a hat while exposed to sun and heat.
  • Get into a cool environment immediately if you have symptoms. Drink additional fluids.
  • Let somebody else know that you are feeling unwell.

Printed in "The Garden Plot" Volume 1 Number 3, Summer 2000
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 02:03 PM by scgardenweb »