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Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion Are Different but Dangerous

With parts of Iowa expecting high temperatures in triple-digits Tuesday along with heat indices as high as 115, hospitals across the state are bracing to handle an influx of heat-related cases. Emergency medicine specialist Dr. Luke Wood says the risks of heat exhaustion and heat stroke rise with the forecast highs.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, dizziness, and profuse sweating, while symptoms of the more serious heat stroke include confusion or altered mental status and clammy skin, plus, you might stop sweating.

Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The heat index is a calculation based on temperatures and humidity levels, what some call the misery index. Wood says says high humidity can cause heat-related health issues, too, especially if you’re not drinking enough water.

If symptoms develop, get the person out of the sun. Find shade. Get them to drink cool water, and seek medical help if you suspect heat stroke.


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