PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Heatstroke is predictable and preventable. Take these steps to prevent heatstroke during hot weather:
- Wear loosefitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won't allow your body to cool properly.
- Wear light-colored clothing if you're in the sun. Dark clothing absorbs heat. Light-colored clothing can help keep you cool by reflecting the sun's rays.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
- Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body's ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
- Never leave children or anyone else in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in just 10 minutes. It's not safe to leave a person inside a parked car in hot weather for any period of time, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in the shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.
- Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can't avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, follow the same precautions and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. Taking breaks and replenishing your fluids during that time will help your body regulate your temperature.
- Get acclimatized. Limit the amount you spend working or exercising in the heat until you're conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness, including heatstroke. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
- Be cautious if you're at increased risk. If you take medications or have a physical condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services at the event in case a heat emergency arises.
- Extreme heat: A prevention guide to promote your personal health and safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp. Accessed Aug 4, 2011.
- Heatstroke. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec22/ch338/ch338d.html?qt=heat%20stroke&alt=sh. Accessed Aug. 4, 2011.
- Zimmerman JL, et al. Hyperthermia. In: Hall JB, et al. Principles of Critical Care. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Professional; 2005. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2282701. Accessed July 7, 2009.
- Becker JA, et al. Heat-related illness. American Family Physician. 2011;83:1325.
- Hyperthermia: Too hot for your health. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/hyperthermia.htm. Accessed May 27, 2011.
- Ishimine P. Heat stroke in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 27, 2011.