Prevent Heat Stroke With a Timer

This has to do with staying out in the heat while you do your gardening or any other outside chore. I was outside yesterday doing some mowing, weed eating, spreading weed killer on the driveway, and other things. It was close to 90 degrees F here, and I was hot and sweaty but not overly so. So I didn't even think about being too hot.

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When I came in for the day, I noticed I was extra "pooped", and didn't feel like cooking a lot for just me for dinner. So I just had a "breakfast dinner" of sausage, eggs, a biscuit and some orange juice. I was still pooped but not so bad so I just went to bed early figuring I'd be better in the morning.

Wrong! When I woke up this morning I was severely sick to my stomach and very weak and shaky. I had to go out, but asked a neighbor to do it for me (which is something I never, ever do!) because I didn't feel safe to drive. She and her husband came and brought me some dinner later today. He mentioned that it might have been the heat yesterday because he knew I was out all day in it. I believe he was right too.

So from now on whenever I go out to do my outside work I'm clipping a timer to my shirt up close to my head so I can be sure and hear it when it goes off. I'm setting it for 30 minute intervals, then coming in for 30 minutes. That put the fear into me!

By Cricketnc from Parkon, NC

Editor's Note: Heat stroke is closely related to dehydration so drinking lots of water is critical in prevention. Here is a link to the CDC's page on heat stroke prevention.

June 2, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks for the hint. I know that feeling all too well. I also recommend a hat, sleeves if the sun is strong, & a wet rag tied around your neck. I lived in Louisiana for many years & it was so easy to get sun sick.

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

You may have saved some lives! I'm working for the next week and a half with a team of volunteers who will be building a house in Southeastern Kentucky. My husband suffered from heat exhaustion the very first day there, last year. I've already stuck a timer in my laundry basket of things to take, and am going to head to Goodwill for old sheets this morning! Thank you for posting this!

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

This happened to me last summer, too, only I got to feeling pretty bad while I was mowing. Thank goodness, I realized what was happening, so I came in the house, drank lots of water, splashed cold water all over my face, neck, and arms, and sat down. It really, really scared me - I thought I was going to pass out and nobody would find me for several days! Take care!

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

I'm so glad to hear that so many people are going to start using my timer idea! I used it yesterday while mowing again and it sure helped me!

Mulberry204 That's a good idea about the wet rag too. I have some old bandanas and I think I'll start doing that.

OH! OH! Something else for those who have dogs! I have 2 dachshunds, both black & tan. In the summer I have to really watch the amount of time they spend outside. But if one or both come in panting too hard and obviously overheated, I came up with a way to cool them down fast and safely. Granted they don't like it but it only takes about 5-10 minutes and they feel so much better after.

I make them lie down on their sides on the cool linoleum kitchen floor. If you don't have a linoleum floor, put them in the bathtub. Then I take 2 rags each (depending on the size of dog), wet them good and wring just till no dripping as I carry them to the dogs. I lay one rag across their backs and spreading it across their chests. The other one I lay across their heads, leaving only their eyes and snouts uncovered. I make them lay this way till their breathing is more even. They aren't happy during the process but as soon as I take the rags up and tell them they can get up, they are very happy and feeling a lot better.

So don't forget to make sure our furry friends are kept from getting too hot too! And remember that dark colored animals will absorb the heat more so than light colored ones, altho we still have to watch the light colored ones too.

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

I don't know of any of you know this, but one sign of heat stroke is to actually stop sweating. I had that happen to me once and didn't know what was happening. The first thing I knew I was passed out on the tarmac and being rushed to the hospital. So watch for that sign!

Caseye, I'm glad you were ok and I totally understand the fear since I am alone most of the time too with a husband who is on the road 3-4 weeks at a time.

And Tooz, I'm glad your husband came through his heat stroke ok too. I hope you remember to include a timer for yourself too and not just him! So many of us wives and mothers are so busy taking care of every one else's needs that we often forget about ourselves!

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

I had heat stroke once when the air conditioner went out in the car and was going home from a day trip. Thank God I was not driving. The temp's outside were triple digits. What is scary is that you don't feel it creeping up on you. I was in bed for almost a week. Now I get over heated extremely easy. My personal warning is that I get red splotches on my forehead. When that happens and I don't go inside to cool off, I could collapse or worse. My advice is never go outside alone if you are vulnerable and to know your warning signs and to have the other person with you to watch you. To quickly cool down is to put an ice bag on the back of the neck.

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. My mom has 6 green houses but when it is real hot outside she gets up early and is back in the house no later than 12:00 noon. Then around 6:00 she will go back out for awhile.

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

Excellent idea, thanks for your tip. I had heat exhaustion a few years ago after dehydrating myself. I spent several hours in a hot car without any water, and had very little that evening. The next morning I had a severe headache and could not get out of bed. My body just shut down for two days, and I was very weak.

I have learned to force liquids even when I am not thirsty, whenever it gets over 85 F.

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