(NBC NEWS) — Suffering from heat-related illness can happen in the blink of an eye. Especially with the triple-digit temperatures in some places around the country.
It happened to one Texas woman who is sharing her story so others can stay safe in the sun.
Bianca Castro reports. This is the kind of greeting 73- year old Shari Gambino has been waiting to give medical city Las Colinas staff– who saved her life two weeks ago.
Shari was brought here after she suffered heat stroke from spending no more than a couple of hours by her neighborhood pool.
“It happened so fast I didn’t know it,” Gambino says a neighbor saw her in the lounge chair, incoherent and confused.
She says when they got her inside, she passed out.
“My caregiver came over and sat down beside me. I didn’t even recognize her. I didn’t know who she was, and it was just like, nothing there,” said Gambino.
Those neurological symptoms, according to doctors are one of the main signs that someone is in critical danger.
Dr. Mohammed Azam, emergency medicine physician said, “if you’re having heat exhaustion, it’s very common it’s what we see with athletes outside not staying hydrated in extreme heat like what we’ve seen these last few days. The big difference is when we start seeing neuro symptoms. So if someone is confused, acting abnormal having difficulty walking if they’re having weakness, that’s primarily the difference.”
Luckily, doctors were able to resuscitate Shari before any of her organs suffered permanent damage.
Today’s she’s back from near-death, grateful and humbled.
“I may be in the pool with a float and mesh, drinking water, but never when it’s that hot,” says Gambino.
Heatstroke happens after heat exhaustion which is marked by muscle cramps and profuse sweating. Other symptoms of heat stroke include hot and dry skin, nausea, rapid breathing, and a racing heart rate.