Not knowing much about heat stroke is dangerous, but knowing the wrong bits of information could prove just as deadly.
Heat illness is a serious concern. When heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke, things can take a turn for the worse. In order to prevent heat stroke, it’s important to learn as much as possible about how it occurs. Unfortunately, the massive amount of misinformation out there can spell trouble for those who don’t know any better. Here are some mainstream myths about heat stroke and the factual sides of the stories.
1. Sugary Drinks Are More Effective Than Water for Reducing Heat Stroke Risk
For some reason, many people like to think that sugary drinks are better at preventing heat illness. Maybe it’s because they associate the energizing effects of sugar with keeping the body alert and away from exhaustion. In reality, feeling alert from calorie consumption is not the same as being properly hydrated. Sugary drinks actually raise the risk of heat stroke because they elevate blood sugar levels and increase body temperature. Water is still the ideal beverage for dehydration, but specially made sports drinks are a good alternative because they provide electrolytes, minerals, and calories.
2. The Signs of Heat Stroke Are Always Apparent
There are many common signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat illness. They include tiredness, dizziness, confusion, reduced motor function, dry skin, elevated pulse, difficulty breathing, and more. However, some individuals don’t experience many of the signs above, and the symptoms that they actually have are hard to detect from another person’s point of view. Additionally, being mentally compromised can prevent victims of heat stroke from even realizing that they are in serious danger. If a loved one becomes disoriented and behaves strangely, take him or her to an urgent care clinic immediately.
3. Heat Stroke Only Occurs in Hotter Climates
It might sound logical to think that people who live in hot and humid regions are the only ones who can suffer from heat stroke, but that’s just not true. Anybody can get heat stroke anywhere, even in arctic conditions. Extreme physical activity is one of the greatest causes of heat stroke. Exerting to much effort and energy is dangerous no matter who or where you are. Other factors, such as medical history, genetics, age, alcohol consumption, drug use, and exposure to heat and sunlight also determine heat stroke risk. Many experts believe that people who have lived in warm climates for a long time are at a lower risk for heat stroke than newcomers who are unaccustomed to the heat.
4. Everybody Is Equally Vulnerable to Heat Stroke
Even though heat illness can affect all people, it’s harshest on young children and older adults. Kids under 12 years of age and seniors over 60 are at the highest risk for heat stroke. These individuals should take the utmost precautions when engaging in physical activity during warm weather.
5. Eating a Spicy Diet Increases the Odds of Getting Heat Stroke
There is no correlation between eating spicy foods and heat stroke risk. In fact, eating spicy foods induces sweating, which lowers body temperature with proper hydration. People can eat all the lip-burning cuisines they want without worrying about heat illness when they drink enough water.