Becoming over heated is nothing to fool with.  It is definitely a medical emergency and one of those unknowable situations that you pay your health insurance premiums for.  All major medical health plans and senior health plans cover emergency room treatment.  If you have a high deductible health plan, know that if you need to go to the ER you will be responsible for the deductible.  If you have protection with a senior health plan called Medicare Advantage you will also have to pay out of pocket for treatment.

The medical definition of heat stroke (from Lixic.us) is: “A severe and often fatal illness produced by exposure to excessively high temperatures, especially when accompanied by marked exertion.  It can manifest by elevated body temperature, lack of sweating, hot dry skin, and neurologic symptoms; unconsciousness, paralysis, headache, vertigo, confusion.  In severe cases very high fever, vascular collapse, and coma develop.”  See what I mean?  Nothing to fool with.  Aren’t you glad you kept up with your health premiums?

More than 40 football players nationwide have died of heatstroke since 1995, 31 of whom were high school athletes, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina.  In the 2001 Chicago Marathon, a young man in his first marathon collapsed of heat stroke at 26 miles and died soon after.  One of the reasons athletes of all sports train where they will compete is to become heat-fit.  Getting heat-fit takes time.  Acclimation, which takes about two weeks, leads to better drinking and teaches the body to hold onto water and salt, increasing blood volume so the heart pumps more blood at a lower rate.  In summer sports, it’s not just the heat, but the heat and the humidity.

The signs and symptoms of heat stroke are:

•nausea

•vomiting

•fatigue

•weakness

•headache

•muscle cramps

•dizziness

•high body temperature

•the absence of sweating

•rapid pulse

Medicinenet.com has some great tips on how to prevent heat stroke.  The most obvious one is to avoid becoming dehydrated and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.  Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol, caffeine and tea.  Replenish the body’s electrolytes with sodium and take frequent water breaks.

There is a difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Heat exhaustion does not result in permanent damage, but heat stroke does.  Heat stroke can permanently disable its victim.  Muscle cramps or a fainting spell does not equal heat stroke.  A loss of consciousness usually happens with heat stroke.  Get the victim out of the sun. Call 911 immediately and while waiting cool the body with ice under the arm pits, neck and groin area.