GENEVA – Kane County Coroner Rob Russell asks people to be attentive to heat stroke-related emergencies through the summer.
Temperatures are starting to rise – with the humidity causing high heat indexes, according to a news release.
“Please be diligent in staying hydrated and staying out of the heat for extended periods of time,” Russell stated in the release.
The coroner noted his office, historically, is busier in the summer, not necessarily because of the heat, but because people are more active during the summer months. Nonetheless, the heat remains a concern.
Infants, the elderly and those who work outside are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses, especially heat stroke, the release stated. Those with chronic illnesses also are considered high-risk.
Russell lists the tell-tale signs of heat stroke and cautions that any of them should be taken seriously and can progress quickly into life-threatening conditions.
• A body temperature exceeding 103 degrees.
• Red, hot and dry skin. This tell-tale sign of heat stroke occurs after heat exhaustion. Once a person stops sweating, Russell said it’s a clear sign they are lacking water and should seek help quickly.
• Headache, dizziness and confusion. These three are especially important, stated Russell, warning that people often will think victims of heat stroke are drunk and possibly ignore the symptoms.
• Fast pulse
• Signs of excessive sweating, heavy breathing and fatigue are signs of heat exhaustion, often preceding heat stroke. These symptoms should be taken seriously and curbed as soon as possible to avoid possibly dangerous conditions.
Here are steps to take after recognizing warning signs.
• Call for emergency medical attention. Heat stroke progresses quickly and can be fatal, so it is important to act immediately, Russell stated.
• Move the person to a shaded or cooler area; loosen their clothing and help them get comfortable.
• Attempt to cool the person down. Russell recommends using whatever is closest and available, such as an outdoor garden hose or spray bottle.
How to avoid heat stroke.
• Keep hydrated. Drink lots of water and avoid beverages with a lot of caffeine or alcohol, because both will dehydrate you. If you’re sweating excessively, Russell said to invest in a drink such as Gatorade, which will replace electrolytes.
• Stay indoors and in the comfort of air conditioning as much as possible.
• Limit outdoor activity and avoid peak sun hours. If you are required to be outside for work, take frequent breaks in the shade and drink between two to four cups of water per hour.
• Listen to your body. "If you’re exercising or working outside and begin to feel tired and achy, do not push through it,” Russell stated. Instead, take a break and cool down in the shade or air conditioning.
• Never leave children (or pets) in a hot vehicle. The temperature in a car rises much faster than the outdoors.