How to avoid heatstroke this summer in Atlanta

National Weather Service warns of heat index in triple digits

When it’s 86 degrees before 10 a.m., you know the day is going to be hot, even dangerously hot.

With the National Weather Service issuing a heat advisory for all of north and central Georgia, doctors with American Family Care want you to know the warning signs of a condition that could kill you — heatstroke.

Heatstroke, which kills nearly 700 people each year, is when your body temperature hits 103 degrees or higher. This causes damage to your brain, kidneys and muscles.

You likely will experience heat exhaustion first, however. When your body begins to overheat during exhaustion, you can expeience heavy sweating, dizziness, a rapid pulse, nausea, headaches, and cool, moist skin.

American Family Care doctors have shared four easy ways for you to avoid heatstroke — and avoid a trip to the hospital.

Neck trick

Did you know the area of your brain that regulates temperature is at the back of your neck? You can trick your body into feeling cooler by either soaking a bandana or other item in cold water, then placing it on the base of your neck, or by placing an ice pack behind your head.

Cool down hot spots

Because blood circulates throughout the body, cooling down what’s in your arms — which recirculates to your body’s overall bloodstream — can help to cool the rest of the body. One easy way to cool your arms’ blood is running your wrists under cold water for about 30 seconds.

Mint conditioning

Remember all those commercials about “cool mint” gum and candy? Well, turns out mint can cool you down. It contains menthol, which can stimulate nerves and trick your body into thinking it’s cooler.

Two ways to achieve this are by using a peppermint lotion. Rubbing it on your skin can stimulate the menthol cooling effect, the doctors say. You can also add peppermint oil to water in a spray bottle, then spritz yourself when you feel hot.

Eat your way to cooling down

It’s important to stay hydrated when it’s hot, but not everyone enjoys drinking water nonstop. AFC doctors recommend eight-12 glasses of water a day. Fortunately, the water in your food counts too.

Here are some good sources of water that will also provide nutrients and/or fiber:

  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Cauliflower
  • Strawberries
  • Snap Peas

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