BY OLIVIA CAMERON- The year 2020 began with record-breaking temperatures in Southwest Florida, with highs 3 degrees hotter than the previous record in January alone.
There’s no chance of records highs dissipating in the weeks to come, either. When local temperatures average at 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon, there is a chance of developing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
People can potentially experience heat stroke when their body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
According to a Wink News report in 2019, Zachary Martin-Polsenberg, a high school student in Lee County, suffered a heatstroke two years prior. His body temperature rose to 107 degrees Fahrenheit before he was rushed to the hospital. He passed away shortly after.
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the School Board of Lee County, the head coach and Lee Count EMS.
In March of this year, the Florida Senate passed the Zachary Martin Act requiring heat illness training for Florida High School Athletic Association member schools.
There is a fine line between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention highlights the side effects.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, pale skin, weak pulse and muscle cramps. In this case, it is recommended people get inside and drink water or use a cold compress.
When heat exhaustion gets worse, people may experience an extreme headache, strong pulse, and hot skin prior to losing consciousness. This is when heatstroke can shutdown the body.
Heatstroke can be mistaken for heat exhaustion, in which case emergency services should be contacted immediately. For more information, visit cdc.gov.