Heat stroke risk in SWFL with soaring high temperatures

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Paul Dolan
Heat stroke
Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke

Millions of Americans are under excessive heat warnings or advisories as temperatures soar into the triple digits across much of the country.

The National Weather Service said more than 60 new record highs will be set across 20 states by the end of the week. And with these temperatures, warnings, and advisories happening, people should be aware of signs of heat stroke.

According to The Weather Authority, the heat index in Southwest Florida has been scorching. Locally, the heat index has fluctuated between a blistering 100 and 110 degrees this week, a recipe for heat stroke.

Heat stroke
Recorded temperature in downtown Fort Myers on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (CREDIT: WINK News)

“It needs to be on everyone’s radar, especially now,” Dr. Virginia Londahl-Ramsey said. Dr. Londahl-Ramsey is a professor in the school of nursing at FGCU. She said while lots of people think they can handle the heat, that’s a dangerous attitude.

“I see a lot of you know, younger people running this time of day,” Londahl-Ramsey said. “It’s probably not the best idea.” The most vulnerable are very young children, people over 65, or people not acclimated to hot weather. “You might have just some palpitations or fast heart rate, you might have respiratory, fast respirations,” Londahl-Ramsey said.

Despite the high temperatures, Brittany Carver decided to ride her bike. But because of her heat stroke experience, she took precautions. “I’m guilty of not drinking enough water so I packed plenty of water,” Carver said.

“Even though people want to reach for like a cool beverage that may contain alcohol, it is the absolute worst thing that you can do at that point,” Londahl-Ramsey said. “You know if you’re going to hydrate yourself, you need to drink water.”

Most people think you get heat stroke and recover. But, researchers at the University of Florida said that’s not the case. They found changes in our immune systems years after the fact, and heat stroke can also increase the risk of chronic heart or kidney disease.

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