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Johns Hopkins Health - Heeding Heatstroke

Summer 2009
Issue No. 5

Heeding Heatstroke

Date: June 24, 2009

water bottles

What do athletes and the elderly have in common? They’re both most susceptible to heat exhaustion or heatstroke during the hot summer months, says Johns Hopkins ICU physician Jonathan Sevransky, M.D.

“Athletes or so-called weekend warriors may not be paying attention to their fluid intake,” Sevransky says, “and the elderly are often less mobile, more isolated and may be taking medications that dehydrate them.”

The best advice is for everyone to drink lots of water when the heat is on, and to have family members or neighbors look out for their elderly peers. If you notice mental distress or confusion, or someone loses consciousness when it’s hot outside, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

“Heatstroke is very serious,” Sevransky says. “Up to 50 percent of patients will end up with organ failure if not treated quickly.”

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