Summer heat and its worrisome effects

Published 10:41 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

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Triple digit heat indexes are popping up on weather forecast maps. Local doctors with American Family Care (AFC) are warning about the condition that can make you very sick – even kill you this time of year if you ignore symptoms. 

We’re talking about heat stroke.  It is when your body temperature hits 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, causing damage to your brain, kidneys and muscles.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, heat stroke kills almost 700 people every year and it is totally preventable.

  • WHAT IS HEAT STROKE?  This is the more severe of heat-related illness. If you don’t get in front of a medical expert, it could kill you.   When your body temperature hits 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, your brain, kidneys and muscles can be damaged and lead to serious complications.
    • HEAT EXHAUSTION occurs before HEAT STROKE.     Your body is overheating during heat exhaustion.   You can have heavy sweating, dizziness, a rapid pulse, nausea, headache and/or cool, moist skin.    

The extreme health risks associated with escalating temperatures this time of year is why local healthcare providers with AFC have created four easy ways (including props) for you to cool down during the extreme heat and avoid a trip to either the urgent care or emergency room. Here they are:

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  1. NECK TRICK:  The area of brain that regulates body temperature is the in the base of the neck area, cool this spot down and you can trick your body into feeling cooler.
  • Soak a **bandana in water, wrap around head or place on back of neck.
  • Put an **ice pack behind your head.
  1. CHILL HOT SPOTS: Lowering the temperature in the blood of your arms can help to cool down your entire body.   Blood from your arms recirculates into your body’s larger bloodstream.
  • Run cold water over wrists for up to 30 seconds


  1. MINT IS MEANT TO BEAT THE HEAT.    Mint contains menthol which will stimulate your nerves and trick your body into thinking you are cooler when you are overheated.
  • Keep **peppermint lotion handy when spending time outside.  You can rub on your skin to stimulate the menthol cooling effect
  • Grab a **spray bottle and mix water with peppermint oil.  When you feel overheated spritz your neck and your forehead to cool off.


  1. FILL UP ON FRUIT AND VEGGIES.   Eating foods that contain more than 90% of water will help you fight dehydration when you are out in the heat.  AFC providers recommend at least 8 to 12 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.   Liquid in your foods counts towards that daily total. 
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Cauliflower
  • Strawberries
  • Snap Peas
  • HEAT EXHAUSTION VS HEAT STROKE: What’s the difference?
Symptoms Heat Stroke Heat Exhaustion
High body temperature  


Hot, red skin X  
Cold, pale skin   X
Headache X X
Heavy sweating   X
Fast, strong pulse X  
Fast, weak pulse   X
Dizziness, Nausea X X
Confusion X  
Muscle cramps   X