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Heatstroke awareness

READ MORE: Heatstroke awareness
As temperatures rise during the summer months, so do the number of people suffering from heat stroke. One local woman says she was faced with a heat stroke emergency, but luckily she knew what to do to save a friend. Kathryn Eakins has been working as a respiratory therapist for the past 37 years. Her life saving skills are usually tested in the hospital. But, one hot day last month, a hiking trip with co-workers put her skills to the test. "We'd been hiking in the morning, drink our fluids like we were supposed too, rested, had a lunch, three hours in the afternoon," said Eakins. Ater only a small complaint of being tired, her friend collapsed. "I had no pulse, no respiration and I go into respiratory therapy mode," said Eakins. Even with her medical training, Eakins says she was shocked to find no signs of her friend suffering from heat stroke. Eakins said, "She should have bounced back right away because she's 35, healthy and physical and it had been two hours since we stopped hiking and she had not made any complaints other than 30 seconds before she collapsed." As Eakins witnessed, heat stroke can strike suddenly. There are some ways to identify an emergency:
  • a person's skin may get dry or red and overheating can cause the body to stop producing sweat.
  • a person may also experience confusion or dizziness.
  • they may also have shortness of breath.
  • if their temperature reaches 104 or higher call 911.
  • elevate their feet.
  • wrap them in cold towels to lower body temperature.
  • if they lose consciousness, begin CPR.
"You need to be proactive. You need to be hydrating all the time, watching your temperature, cooling off, sit down in the shade if you're outside, better yet go inside there is air condition," said Eakins. If you would like to find out where you can take a CPR course, you can contact the American Red Cross at 910-762-2683.

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