The summer goes by fast, and you’ll want to take advantage of our last summer days. But keep in mind that extreme heat is also a concern and understanding ways of preparing for times of extreme heat and knowing the signs of heat related illnesses is crucial.
Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition. It is important to understand the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what the first aid response should be.
Heat Exhaustion – Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse is thready. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. Treatment: Get victim out of the sun. Lay victim down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Provide sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting continues, seek medical attention immediately.
Heat Stroke (sunstroke)- Symptoms: High body temperature (106° F or higher). Hot dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possibly unconscious. Treatment: Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 to get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. If the person is alert and able to drink liquids have them drink cool water or other cool beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine.
These conditions can be avoided by following some easy safety tips.
• Stay indoors as much as possible. If you don’t have air conditioning, move to a lower floor that has less exposure to the sun.
• Spend the warmest part of the days in public buildings such as the library, mall or movie theater.
• Eat light meals and avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
• Drink plenty of water or drinks with electrolytes unless you are on a fluid restricted diet or have a problem with fluid retention. If so, please consult your doctor before increasing fluid intake.
• Wear light loose fitting clothing.
• Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
• Avoid strenuous work or exercise during the warmest part of the day.
• Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
• Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
For more safety tips and information on being prepared and staying safe during extreme heat visit the webpage below.