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The Palliser Primary Care Network supports two Family Medicine Maternity Clinics, one in Medicine Hat and one in Brooks.

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HEATSTROKE / SUNSTROKE

Most of you probably love summer, especially here in SouthEast Alberta, as it is so warm most of the time. For those of you who are not so much sun lovers, summer around here can prove to be difficult. If you have never had heatstroke, you are lucky; if you have, then you know all about it and that you are now more prone to getting it.

As defined on the Mayo Clinic's website, heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to -- or physical exertion in -- high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke can occur if your body temperature rises to 40 C (104 F) or higher. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidney and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.

Be prepared...

  • Bring a hat or umbrella if you are going to be in direct sunshine (spectator at sports, swimming chaperone, playing at the park)
  • Bring lots of water
  • SUNSCREEN
  • Try and go to a shaded area
  • Monitor anyone, especially the young and old, as they are more likely to suffer from heatstroke/sunstroke

Monitor for...

  • Headaches
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Red, hot skin
  • Confusion
  • In more severe cases: loss of consciousness and seizure (call 911)

Ways to treat...

  • SHADE
  • Cool off with ice packs to neck, groin, armpits, etc.
  • Water
  • Cool water tub or pool

Get out there and enjoy the warm weather... just don't forget to hydrate and get some shade! (And remember, if it's too hot, cancel the outdoor activity until cooler weather... heatstroke/sunstroke is just not worth it.)

Submitted by Heather Deck, a Registered Nurse at HealthWORX Medical Clinic in Medicine Hat, AB.

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