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Avoiding heat stroke while still being able to have fun in the sun

Summer is here and it's hot across the Natural State. There are places to discover and adventures to be had, but sunny days can also be dangerous.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — This summer is looking so much different than last year... with folks excited to get outside and enjoy the sun.

But, don't underestimate that fiery ball in the sky.

"You can say, 'Well, I've always worked outside, I've always mowed the lawn, I've always been out on the lake, and so forth. But you don't realize you're a different person than you were last year and your risk may be higher," explained Dr. Krisht.

Dr. Ali Krisht is the director of the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute in Sherwood.

"I see everyday, two to three strokes, believe it or not in our emergency room," he said.

He says a stroke happens when your brain isn't getting enough oxygen. A heat stroke is different, but the outcomes can be the same.

When your body is exposed to very high temperatures for an extended period of time, your brain cells feel it and start to overheat.

"It can't be too low and it can't be too high, that's why we have a normal body temperature that ranges from about 96 to 98 degrees," Dr. Krisht said.

You might start feeling confused and tired. You could feel sick to your stomach and feel like your heart is racing.

So, what do you do?

First, get out of the heat. Go inside, drink water, take off your clothes if you have to. Anything to cool down your body and your brain cells.

Usually, you'll start to feel better within a few minutes, but in extreme cases...

"It could take a few days for the cells to recover from the stress they've been exposed to," Dr. Krisht said.

Dr. Krisht says if you notice the confusion and fatigue sticking around for much longer, get to the emergency room. And play it safe if you start to feel the heat.

"Don't stay in the heat too long, get in the shade. And the shade may not be enough. It all might sound like common sense, but it comes with not underestimating the seriousness of what could go wrong," Dr. Krisht said.

If you have to stay outside for long periods of time for work or other reasons, the CDC recommends wearing sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, along with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.


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