With summer approaching, 24 Heating Cooling wants to make sure that you have scheduled your HVAC service.  It is important that your Chicago air conditioning system is operating correctly before the hot days of summer arrive in Chicago.  As Chicago prepares for another great summer, it is important to remember that while you are enjoying the summer weather, it is easy to become overheated while participating in outdoor activities.  While you may not think it could happen to you, heat stroke can happen to anyone very quickly if the conditions are right.  Below are some helpful hints to help you avoid heat stroke this summer.

Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises quickly to very high levels.  It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention as heat strokes can be fatal if left untreated.  During vigorous outdoor activity, high temperatures or high humidity, a person’s body may not be able to handle the rise in the body’s temperature or dissipate the heat as temperature rises.  Dehydration can make this worse or even be a cause of heat stroke because the body cannot produce sweat to cool down.  Athletes, infants, elderly individuals and those working outside are at a higher risk of heat stroke.

Signs of a heat stroke include:

  • Rapid pulse
  • High body temperature
  • Red or flushed skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Seizure and/or coma

If you suspect that you or someone else is suffering from heat stroke, you should contact emergency services immediately.  Absent any specific instructions from emergency services, it is important to try to cool the person by moving him or her to a shady area.  Remove any excess clothing and apply cool or tepid compresses to the skin.  You can also gently spray the person with cool water to help cool their body temperature.  Fanning will help evaporate sweat to cool the skin too.  Place ice packs under the armpits and at the groin to bring temperature down.  If the person can drink, give them cool water to drink to help cool the body from the inside.

To prevent heat stroke you should stay hydrated and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day.  If you are going to be outside or performing prolonged physical activity, avoid caffeine and drink plenty of water.  Replenish your body with electrolytes often and avoid performing the activity in direct sunlight.  Take breaks often, wear light-colored clothing and loose fitting clothing.

Enjoy summer but be smart and avoid heat stroke!

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