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Updated: 08/28/2014 08:00:02AM

How to avoid heat stroke

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Bill Hempel

By Bill Hempel

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On these beautiful summer days, we often forget about the danger presented by heat stroke, or, as some call it, sunstroke. Heat stroke is a very serious condition and can cause lots of problems: Brain damage, internal organ damage and even death. Much like carbon monoxide poisoning, heat stroke can sneak up on us as a progression from milder heat-related issues. One may simply attribute the initial symptoms to exhaustion. Some of the early symptoms include confusion, disorientation and poor judgment — conditions that cause one to ignore the signs and fail to take corrective action.

To minimize the risks of heat stroke, there are a number of precautionary steps you can take. Try to boat during early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot, sweltering sun. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing. A wide-brimmed hat is also helpful. You’ll need to use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30. Since heat stroke is brought on by dehydration, which disrupts the bodies’ temperature control system, hydrate by drinking lots of fluids such as water or electrolyte-rich sports drinks. If you are going to be in the sun all day, avoid any drinks with alcohol or caffeine — these drinks will cause you to increase the rate at which you lose bodily fluids.

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