Lots of folks are going to be out & about tomorrow for Independence Day, and it's gonna be a hot one. Do you know the difference between heat exhaustion (go cool down somewhere) and heat stroke (CALL 911)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, over 600 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States - more than tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, lightning or any other weather event combined.
Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, but it’s important to identify the warning signs and to react swiftly and appropriately when they arise.
What’s the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?
Heat exhaustion is the precursor to heatstroke and is a direct result of the body overheating.
According to Mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion is identifiable by heavy sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, fatigue, cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat, muscle cramps, nausea and headache.
These symptoms may develop over time or come on suddenly, especially during or following periods of prolonged exercise.
When heat exhaustion is not addressed, heatstroke can follow.
Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness and, without emergency treatment, it can lead to death. It results when your body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
"This is pretty complicated because a lot of things can happen. The short answer is it certainly can be fatal...," Peter Sananman, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Penn Medicine, said.
At this temperature, your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles can also become damaged, leading to serious complications or death.
In the case of heatstroke, seeking medical attention is an absolute must, Sananman said.
In addition to a high body temperatures, the symptoms of heatstroke include altered mental state or behavior, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing and racing heart rate.
"Generally with heat exhaustion, a patient is sweating a lot, whereas with heat stroke, they’ve stopped sweating and are actually dry. It’s a good rule of thumb but isn’t always true," he said.