How to Prevent Heat Strokes


Justina (Yijia) Liu, Staff Writer

As the days got hotter and hotter and we approached mid-September, Arcadia reached a high of 108°F and almost 12 days of 100°F or hotter. Many people who are under the sun for too long are very likely to suffer from heat stroke. 

“It’s so hot, I can’t even eat my lunch,” complained Arcadia High School (AHS) junior Emily Yen during lunch. 

Heat stroke is considered one of the most serious heat-related illnesses. It occurs when the body’s temperature rises rapidly and is not controllable by the body. The body’s sweating mechanism fails and cannot cool down by itself and maintain homeostasis. When heat stroke occurs, one’s body temperature can rise up to 106°F and higher within 10 to 15 minutes. 

Heat stroke usually is a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures and often occurs during the hot summer months. According to studies by the CDC, 658 people succumb to extreme heat and suffer from heat stroke daily. 

But how do we prevent it? There are many ways to avoid heat stroke such as wearing loose-fitting or lightweight clothing that has light colors, and does not absorb light, protecting yourself against sunburn by using sunscreen or hiding in shades, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking extra precautions with certain medications. These are other very useful techniques to prevent oneself from getting a heat stroke. There are also other heat illnesses, such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion, which could be prevented by multiple methods: sweating less by staying indoors, which maintains crucial salt and minerals,  sodium, potassium, and calcium, in the body, turning on the air conditioner to stay cool indoors, scheduling your outdoor activities carefully, not overloading oneself, and using a Buddy System. A Buddy System is a procedure in which two people, “buddies”, operate together so that they are able to monitor and help each other.

“Having someone to remind me to stay in the shade during PE is very useful!” said AHS junior Melanie Jiang after trying the Buddy System.

However, there are many cases where people cannot prevent themselves from suffering from heat stroke or other heat illnesses. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat heat stroke as well. One can rest in a cool, air-conditioned place, but finding a shady spot or sitting in front of a fan would also work.  If applicable, one could also take medications prescribed by their doctors. 

Heat illnesses are prevalent during the summer months, and it is crucial to take precautions. A very high body temperature can often cause damage to the brain and other vital organs. People with health conditions like old age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, or drug and alcohol use should take even more precautions because it is even harder for the body to stay cool in hot weather. 

Last but not least, Arcadia High students, try to stay cool, prevent yourself from getting heat stroke, and have a wonderful September!


Photo by Dan LeFebvre